Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection #2 Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on April 23rd, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection #2, as the name suggests, is a wonderful collection of Dr. Seuss interactive storybook apps, including some of my personal favorite Dr. Seuss stories of all time.

This application may be of most interest to readers who are new to the Dr. Seuss series of applications developed by Oceanhouse Media. These storybooks, as do the other stand-alone Dr. Seuss apps and the other Oceanhouse Media storybook applications in general, include professional narration as well as the ability to read these books to oneself. Auto play is also included that, along with the included narration, turns these pages automatically - great for the youngest children to enjoy these stories on their own.

The original illustrations from each of these stories are included, with the use of panning and zooming to allow one to see the details of each wonderfully Seussian drawing up close, guiding the eye of readers to specific points of interest within the page as the text is displayed. The words within these stories are highlighted when read, a nice touch children trying to follow along will enjoy. Do tap on individual words to hear them again, even when the narration is not in use - a wonderful inclusion that enables young readers to pronounce words they may have trouble with. Whole paragraphs can also be tapped to be heard, as well as the objects and characters on every page which are labeled with both a written word and a spoken one, yet never talking over the included narration - a nice touch. Lovely sound effects are also included that bring a lot of richness to these stories without distraction.

I am a fan of Dr. Seuss stories, but I have to admit that I find them sometimes hard to read out loud with ease as I am not great with tongue-twisters in general, as are some of these popular books. Therefore, I love having the chance to sit back and listen to these stories with my child, as the included professional narrators do a better job than I.

Five stories within this collection are included - specifically Hop on Pop, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, Green Eggs and Ham, There’s a Wocket in my Pocket, and Dr. Seuss's ABC.

Readers may know about each of these classic stories, but I am happy to go over each one for parents who may not know some of these titles.

Hop on Pop is my favorite Dr. Seuss book to read out loud and a real classic book in our house. Published in 1963, this book was originally subtitled “The Simplest Seuss for Youngest Use,” and really rolls off the tongue as children listen to and later read this simple rhyming story - a series of short whimsical phrases really, that introduce phonic sounds in a charming way that one would expect from Dr. Seuss, brilliant at keeping the attention of children and never in a way that is at all condescending - often a criticism I have of other phonics-based books or early readers for younger children.

I love Hop on Pop because here, kids learn not only about phonics but about the deconstruction of languages as wonderful Seuss illustrations depict lines such as “Mouse House.” This is further described as “Mouse on a House,” very different from “House Mouse” and also more fully explained as “House on a Mouse” complete with wonderful illustrations that fill in the context of these nonsensical lines from this story. Children will love the various characters met within these pages, as well as how every few pages or so a new story element to this phonics book is introduced - wonderful for the attention span of toddlers as well as for children of any age.

There has been a lot of hopping on pop at our house when this book has been read as a classic book or via this application as my son loves to act out this passage from this book. I look forward to my son reading this book out loud, and some day to his own family.

The Cat in the Hat Comes Back - all things considered - may be the most memorable Seuss story from my childhood. Here, Sally and her brother, characters from the first The Cat in the Hat, are busy shoveling snow at their house as the Cat in the Hat lets himself into their home, eats cake in their bathtub, and leaves a huge pink stain that needs to be cleaned. When the Cat chooses to use inappropriate household objects to clean the pink stain, he transfers the stain all over the house, confounding this pink stain problem as it grows and grows, introducing other little characters, cats A to Z as well, for an epic ending that I really enjoy.

The narration within this section is crafted by the wonderful John Bell, my all-time favorite narrator who does an amazing job reading Seuss, in a delivery most wonderful, conversational and adding so very much to this story, expressing the brother’s frustration over the Cat’s antics, as well as the drama that insures better than any other person I have heard read Dr. Seuss - much like a Shakespearean actor reading Shakespeare in a way that greatly boosts the comprehension of the audience.

I also admire the use of sounds here for a great effect as a “voom” is needed to finally clear the pink stain from the house, and the added sound effects used here to further illustrate this moment for me are perfectly realized.

It is worth noting that the ABC cats try to use guns to “kill” the pink stain during this story - something that has bothered some parents in the past - is an issue that personally does not concern me as the guns seen in the illustrations are obviously cork-guns, and John Bell does a great job keeping these moments light and silly.

Looking back, I think this pink stain actually scared me, but as I far as I can remember, I mean this in a very good way.

Green Eggs and Ham is a delightful story about Sam I am who will not take “no" for an answer as he hounds a grumpy character to try Green Eggs and Ham, although this character has no interest in doing so. Sam I am is quite thorough in his trying to get his friend to try them in a variety of creative and whimsical ways, such as with a mouse, in a house, in a box, or with a fox. The answer is a resounding “no” until this other character is broken down and is willing to try the dish and actually likes them. The additional sounds used in Green Eggs and Ham are yet another example of how sound effects can bring so much to these stories, as Sam I am and the friend travel near and far, braving the elements as well as various means of transportation, with effective sound effects to match.

There’s a Wocket in my Pocket is a fun way to introduce children to all the objects found in their homes with the use of fun rhyming creatures that children will enjoy. I especially liked the included creature noises used, really bringing these nonsensical characters to life.

Dr Seuss’s ABC’s is a delightful way to teach children their letters as well as other words that start with the same letter in question, getting to know classic oddball Seussian characters along the way. Although not found in the original book of the same name, the individual app contains an extra last page full of interactive letters that is missing from this collection - an odd omission as this last page brings more interactive elements for children to enjoy. I hope this last page can be added to this collection in the future.

I highly recommend this app to families who have not yet built a library of these individual Dr. Seuss applications. Readers may have sticker shock when first looking at the price of this app, but it is a great deal for a compilation of five wonderfully written, illustrated and now digitally adapted for iPad and iPhone.

iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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