I Need My Monster Application Review
After being afraid of monsters all of these years, there has been a revolution of books and films that show that monsters are non-threatening and that children are no longer afraid of them! "I Need My Monster", written by Amanda Noll and illustrated by Howard McWilliam, takes this concept further, showing that each child needs his or her own personal monster. Recently turned into an application for Android and iOS devices, you can see the monsters in action (and hear them growl). Continue reading to learn how you can use this interactive application in speech and language therapy sessions!
The Main Page of the application allows you to choose the manner in which to have the book read (via a narrator or by yourself) or play a game. There is also a button for credits and button for the help menu. You can turn on/off the background music by pressing the speaker button in the top right hand corner. In addition, the screen itself is interactive. Press the white letters of the title to have the title stated or any of the letters on the word "Monster" to see each one turn into a letter monster and make a different sound.
Credits - Press the exclamation point button to view the book and application credits.
Help - Press the question mark button to view what each button does throughout the application on one screen.
"I Need My Monster" is a story about a child named Ethan whose monster, named Gabe, went on vacation fishing for a week. The child becomes upset that he cannot fall asleep without the monster under his bed. Substitute monsters begin coming in left and right, but they are not the same as Gabe, so Ethan sends them all back.
First, choose between having the application read to you by a narrator or reading the book yourself and whether or not the pages will be auto-turned. Then, the book will begin. On the first page, you can have the application personalized to the child by pressing on the poster at the top of the screen and typing the child's name in via the keyboard. Press on different items on the screen to see them animated and hear an associated sound. Press the monster pointing fingers to navigate between pages. Press the brown down arrow at the top of the page to view the page selection panel or navigate back to the main page. From time to time the application will display icons on the screen to show the user actions to perform with the iPad, such as shaking it.
Press the "Matching Game" text on the Main Page to play the matching game. Choose between Level 1, 2, or 3 depending on the difficulty you wish the user to play. Turn over two cards at a time and if they match, they will disappear. Each card has an image from the story on it.
Press the "Follow Me" text next to the musical notes to begin the follow me game. Four monsters surrounding a campfire will appear. Tap the screen to begin. The narrator will state to "Tap the monsters in the same order". Then, a monster will animate and create a sound. Press on that monster and if correct, the sequence will get longer each time and the high score will increase by one. If incorrect, the game is over but can be started again. Each monster is a different color, animates differently, and makes a different sound. The narrator will state compliments throughout game play and at the end, if a record has been beaten, state that there is a new record.
What I Like About This Application:
- The text highlights as it is narrated and the narrator uses appropriate vocal inflection.
- Within the text, there are images that can also be animated and sometimes make sounds. These add to the information in the text.
- The book can be narrated for those who have difficulty reading/haven't learned how to read yet or read aloud by the user for those who need practice reading.
- The main character of the story is not afraid of monsters which is an unexpected plot. The story is very interesting to read, listen to, and interact with.
- The fact that multiple elements on each screen are interactive and animate/make sounds when pressed makes the application motivating and adds detail to the story.
- Including two different games with the application adds to the fun!
What I Would Like to See in Future Updates:
- I would love to have the option to press on specific words and have them read aloud.
- Articulation/Fluency/Voice - Have the user read the book aloud using age appropriate speech sounds/fluency strategies/vocal strategies. Have the student use appropriate vocal inflection and different monster voices throughout the application.
- Describing - Have children describe characteristics of the different monsters. Have them describe what type of monster they would like under their beds. They can even draw their monster!
- Compare/Contrast - Have the user compare/contrast the substitute monsters to the child's monster, Gabe, and describe why each monster is not right for the child.
- Inferencing - Children can inference what may happen next in the story or at the end of the story.
- Emotions/Non-Verbal Communication - Discuss the emotions of the main character throughout the book as he discovers new substitute monsters throughout the application. Talk about the non-verbal communication shown by the child and monsters including facial expressions, body language, and vocal inflection. Children can also practice what a scared face might look like after seeing a monster.
- Pragmatic Language - Children can discuss what makes them scared, if they were scared about monsters as a younger child or still are, what type of monster they would like to have under their beds, etc.
- Expressive Language - Have children describe monsters in which they would like to have under their beds. They can even write about their monster.
You can purchase the original book on Amazon.com currently for $11.34. You can purchase the application for the Kindle for $7.99. Finally, you can purchase the book as an app for Android devices for $3.97 or the iPod/iPhone/iPad for $0.99.
Consonantly Speaking was given a copy of this application to review. No other form of compensation was given.