Monday, August 6, 2012

Monkeys in My Head

Monkeys in My Head was created by PaperPlane Co. It's an ebook that aims to help children cope with internal bullies. Bullying, in any form, has become a recent hot topic. I was curious as to how this e-book was going to address this important issue. Price: $1.99

Device Requirements: Compatible with iPad.Requires iOS 5.1 or later.

Developmental Appropriateness: This book is really aimed at an individual who has personally experienced bullying and or has low-self esteem and are beating his/herself up inside. While it does not deal with bully prevention or really even how to deal with bullying- internal or external, it does in the least send the message that you are not alone in feeling these feelings. To the extent that this book may help a child who is dealing with these issues (in a clinical sense), I will have to say that this is not my area of developmental expertise. I think this is definitely a book parents should read first and see if they think it is appropriate and relevant for their child. It deals with a pretty serious matter as poor Pirourette (the main character) has to struggle with these demons inside her head. For a child who may be dealing with similar issues, this book may be a good way to get the conversation started. Alone, the book may not offer any "solutions." For kids who may not be experiencing these issues, the book may be a little confusing and contains some inappropriate and aggressive behavior from the monkeys and a frustrated Pirourette who screams, "Shut up!" I would definitely say that the recommended target age by the developers of 4 and up is too young for the approach of this e-book on this more mature topic. The "coping" that takes place in this book - where Pirourette mentally "cages" the monkeys requires some cognitive strength that a younger child may not understand yet. Rating: 3/5 (Aim for around 8 years)

Balance: In terms of the e-book features, this book is pretty stylized in terms of the art and overall feel. The focus is on the story and less on literacy development. The text doesn't highlight, it's presented in different fonts and sizes - so probably not as beneficial for improving reading skills, which is fine. The interactive features are kinda sparse, but when they are there, they are related to the story. Rating: 4/5

Sustainability: This is a hard one. I think for the very specific group of kids, they might identify with this and love it. But overall, when comparing to other books and picking out any book to read for fun or bedtime, or whatever, this isn't going to exactly be the go to book. Rating: 3.5/5

Parental Involvement - This is absolutely a book a parent should read with their child, at least the first few times. It begs for conversation beyond the book. This book does a good job of starting the conversation with kids who may need it - its up to parents/teachers, etc. to follow up and finish it. Rating: 4/5

Total: 14.5 out of 20  - 3 stars.

Disclosure - I received this app for free for review purposes.

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