Noisy Bug Sing Along
Noisy Bug Sing Along is an interactive app based on the best-selling book of the same name, published by a company dedicated to encouraging kids to appreciate nature. Written, illustrated and narrated by a bug expert-and with the help of recordings of the actual insect sounds-children will see and hear insects as they actually move their bodies to make sounds, and sing along! It’s a fun way to encourage children to go outdoors and observe nature closely. This educational app helps with cognitive development and communication skills in young children, and has some academic relevance in that it teaches children how sound waves are created and what they look like in graph form. The app is aimed at years 4 and above.
When you open the app you are presented with two options of the story: ‘Read to Me’, where a recorded voice reads out the text shown on the screen and ‘Read to Myself’, which excludes the aid of a recorded voice.
Read to Me:
The first screen gives the user an idea about what is to come, i.e. singing along with insects. Then one flicks the page to the left with their finger to skip to the next screen. There are two options at both bottom corners of the screen: A bug face that brings up a list of menu options when pressed on and a ‘repeat’ button that when pressed replays the recorded voice. What’s useful is that the words which are being read highlight in red respectively; children can see how the words being read out are spelled; this applies to all subsequent pages. To help make the navigation easier, it may be useful to have some type of indication that prompts the learner to move to the next screen or how to go back. As it is, the learner would need to guess how to progress forward or backward.
On the next 12 pages there are 12 different bugs shown. Each bug is illustrated in cartoon form which makes them look fun and appealing to young children. What’s more, each page contains illustrations composed of various colours to keep the learner enthused. Each insect is named and you are given a very brief description of either what type of sound they make or where they make a sound from. Then the learner hears the recorded human voice making a sound similar to what the bug sounds like in real life, which is repeated a few times. These sounds are shown in text form and, what’s more, if the learner clicks on the bug in question or jiggles the screen they will see it make a movement and at the same time the human voice will imitate the sound made by the bug. This gives the learner a little insight into how bugs behave.
At the end of these 12 pages, the user hears the sounds they have just heard all at once. The user is then treated to hearing a recording of the actual noises made by these 12 insects, all at the same time. The idea of this is to replicate as close as possible the sounds you would hear if stepping out into the garden.
The second part of the story concentrates on how these bugs make the sounds they do, why they make them and the learner is also taught what a sound wave is. The subsequent 12 pages include a sound wave icon and, when clicked on, the learner hears an actual recording of the sound emitted from the bug and at the same time the loudness of the sound is highlighted along the sound wave to show what constitutes as loud and low. Here the learner is getting an education on sound waves in a fun and interactive way.
At the end of this section there is then a great feature called the ‘Bug Matching Game’. On one side of the screen you see the all the images of the sound waves for the bugs you have just learnt about. On the other side of the screen you see the images of the different bugs. You then have to drag each sound wave onto the image of its corresponding bug. This really gives you extra impetus to learn about each bug and helps with the longevity of user engagement.
Read to myself:
The learner sees the same text and pictures as ‘Read to me’ except there is no recorded voice and the learner hears a recording of the actual insect sounds only. This is useful in that if the learner is not interested in singing along then they can simply read to themselves at their own pace.
Finally, we are given a little bit of background information into what inspired the author to write the book and are introduced to the developer of the app. Then we end with some information about the publishing team as well as other apps published by Dawn Publications.
In conclusion, the app achieves its goal of making it fun to learn about bugs and the sounds they make. The colours and bug animations make the app very interesting and exciting to use, and the audio incorporated within is both clear and easy for young children to imitate in terms of singing along. After using the app, it is conceivable that children will want to explore their gardens to look for the insects described here. At $4.99 this is an app we would definitely buy to keep the children entertained!
From the Developer
Kids are fascinated by bugs. And bugs ARE fascinating! This app is both entertaining and highly educational – the perfect way to get the child in your life outdoors and observing nature closely.
Here is the perfect way for the whole family to have outdoor fun by listening to bugs, imitating them, and identifying them. Field crickets go chirp-chirp-chirp; your kids will soon be singing like bugs with glee-glee-glee! Crickets! Cicadas! Beetles! Katydids! Grasshoppers! Each makes a unique sound, and quite often it is LOUD.
This interactive app is based on the best-selling book of the same name, published by a company dedicated to encouraging kids to appreciate nature. Written and illustrated by a bug expert, children will see and hear insects as they actually move their bodies to make sounds – all kinds of sounds. Bugs don’t have vocal chords, and they don’t use their mouths to make sounds. Instead they move different body parts to make those sounds. This app is a wonderful introduction to the noisy, busy world of insects.
* Extreme close-up artwork is scientifically accurate
* Choose between “Read to Me” and “Read to Myself”
* Touch the bugs or jiggle the screen to watch them move their bodies in the way that they produce sounds! Remember, insects do not create sounds through vocal chords, but by moving other body parts.
* Hear actual recorded insect sounds.
* Have fun with onomatopoeia – sing along with the author as he imitates the bug sounds.
* Includes interesting extra information about each featured species.
* All information is scientifically accurate. The author is an expert on insects.
From School Library Journal (book review): "A still summer evening isn’t always quiet for those who listen carefully. They might hear and identify some noisy bugs using this simple primer. Himmelman devotes a spread to each insect and its distinctive sound. Though the text is simple, with just one line per page, the author packs in the information. He includes the complete name of the bug and an easy-to-replicate phonetic description of the sound. Readers will also learn about how the noisy creature adapts to its environment. For example, a Dog-Day Cicada buzzes high in a tree, not near the ground. The textual information is set off by larger-than-life illustrations. The colors are saturated but still realistic. There are enough details in the pictures to serve as a beginning identification guide. Additional details about all of the bugs is appended. Nature activities are included. This book will be well-used on trips to the woods and in backyards throughout the summer, wherever noisy bugs can be found."
From Washington Parent (book review by Mary Quattlebaum): “This playful introduction to six-legged critters is perfectly tuned to a tot's love of sound and color. Youngsters can squeaka-squeaka like a tiger moth, buzzzzzz like a bumble bee, and tick-tick-tick zeezeezee like a bush katydid. Each double-page spread reveals the insect in its natural habitat, and both are rendered with scientific accuracy in bright, though realistic, colors. (No crickets in top hats or neon green foliage.) Readers get a sense of scale, too, by seeing a bug beside, for example, a blueberry that appears to be the size of an orange. Through text, pictures, and informative backmatter, John Himmelman shines an appreciative spotlight on our native creepy-crawlies and encourages children to attend to the wild chorus around them.”
Dawn Publications is dedicated to inspiring in children a deeper understanding and appreciation for all life on Earth.