ABCs 4 SLPs: B is for Books - Ice Cream Monsters Book App Review and Giveaway
There are so many book applications on the market for the iPad, but not many address social skills. Ice Cream Monsters, a story written and narrated by Erik X. Raj M.S. CCC-SLP, focuses on the social skill of understanding that everyone is created different and should be treated with respect. In addition, the book is repetitive which is great for students with special needs and similar to the repetition of social stories. Erik is on a mission, to make sure that every child is included and has high self-esteem, and he will bring you to Mars (or should I say Planet Amazing Yummy) to make children smile! Continue reading for my review of the application and a giveaway!
Like most story books on the iPad, this application has options for children to read the story themselves or have it read to them. If the story is read to them, it is read by the author, Erik X. Raj. You can turn the pages of the book by pressing the arrow keys. Pressing the "i" button will show the "credits" of the application (who wrote, narrated, illustrated, edited, programmed, and provided music for the app). It also shows a picture of the creator of the application as well as his website. In addition, a song is playing in the menu of the application which is related to the Ice Cream Monsters. Below is an image of the main page as well as a video of the author of the application discussing how he created it!
Application Play/Book Review:
This story takes place on a separate planet called "Amazing Yummy" where Ice Cream Monsters live (the monsters are actually rather adorable than scary). The overall story is about understanding that everyone is different and accepting others. The text of the book appears at the top of each page and is repetitive stating that "some ice cream monsters have _____ [topping] and some don't" but "even though these two monsters are different from one another, they still love to play together". The images show cartoon Ice Cream Monsters playing different games together and smiling outdoors on the planet. The story is also interactive! Press on the Ice Cream Monsters themselves and some will change color or toppings. Press on the planets and you will hear a sound. Some characters/objects will move (such as an Ice Cream Monster swinging, a rocket ship flying, and a ball being passed between two tennis players' racquets). The story wraps up its message in the end showing all of the different Ice Cream Monsters and how they are all friends even though they are different!
What I Like About This Application:
- The overall message of the story is perfect for my students in speech-language therapy. I can use it to discuss how everyone is different and we should treat others the way we would like to be treated.
- Animations within the application are age appropriate for many of my elementary school student and motivating as well. The illustrations are adorable!
- The fact that the story has a theme of ice cream and space is seen throughout the application. Planets are seen in the sky and all of the monsters have different toppings/colors of ice cream. I also like that the ice cream monsters are playing outdoors which encourages children to be active (plus, it is okay to have some ice cream every once in a while)
What I Would Like to See in Future Updates:
- From time to time, some of the words are difficult to read when on lighter backgrounds or when the backgrounds/objects on the screen are different colors. Also, I have a pet peeve about using the Comic Sans MS font (but that's a personal thing). The font type works with the playfulness of the application though. I wonder if there would be a way to have the text have a light background behind it separate from the scene but not be distracting for easier readability.
- One fun thing that I would love to see is the ability for a child to create his or her own ice cream monster. They could choose the number of scoops, toppings, and flavors!
- Articulation - Have children read the book using their best speech sounds in reading. This application is full of /s/ and /s/ blends, so it is particularily great for students working on those sounds!
- Fluency - Have children read the book using fluency strategies if they are having difficulty with fluency in reading.
- Expressive Language - Children are great authors as well! You can have your students write about their own planet (if they could create one) or another adventure on the Amazing Yummy Planet! Also, they can write or state sentences about what activities the Ice Cream Monsters might do on planet Amazing Yummy!
- Receptive Language - Discuss adjectives related to ice cream (its taste, flavors of toppings, cold, its texture, etc.) and compare/contrast various toppings!
- Social Skills/Pragmatics - Children can take turns reading pages on the application. Also, the story itself focuses on the social skill of accepting and including others! Finally, have the children discuss their favorite ice cream flavors, toppings, cones vs. bowls, or how many scoops they like in conversation!
- Prepositions/Following Directions - Discuss where the Ice Cream Monsters are in relation to each other and their environment. Discuss where the toppings are located on the Ice Cream Monsters. You can even make your own Ice Cream Monsters! Give students directions of where to place the eye and the smile. Ask them questions about where they are going to place toppings!
I grabbed the following ingredients to create an Ice Cream Monster - neopolitan ice cream, marshmallows (for the white of the eye), chocolate chips (for the pupil of the eye), and sprinkles. You can use whatever ice cream you want and toppings, but I find that small marshmallows with chocolate chips make a good eye!
Here's my Ice Cream Monster! He has sprinkles, strawberry and chocolate ice cream, a spoon, and a smile of stars!
Other Speech-Language Websites That Reviewed This Application (click on the site for the link):
This application is available for the iPad for $1.99
I cannot wait to use this application with my students next year! It is great to use with a summer or sweets theme! I have an ice cream party at the end of each school year, so I would love to pair it with this book!
Consonantly Speaking was given a copy of this application by the developer to review on this website as well as a copy to give away to a reader. No other form of compensation was received.
Developer Website and Upcoming Apps:
Erik X. Raj has a completely new website! Visit his awesome website at http://www.erikxraj.com Also, Erik has a new story application coming soon called "The Grumble Noise" which is about how hard it is to fall asleep at night with noises in your room. It looks super awesome (especially since there is a dragon on the preview of the application; really cool!)!
Erik X. Raj has given me one copy of the application to give away to a lucky reader! Enter via the Rafflecopter below: