EggMania (eBook Review)

Every night before bed, my kids demand a story (as they should). We’ve started to read longer books instead of the picture books of the past few years. They still love them, but want more. Thankfully, eBooks are helpful with providing brilliant images, engaging stories, and then even read the books for a tired mama every once in a while!

Since we were away from each other last week, it’s been nice to cuddle and catch up on some books with the kids. Most recently we checked out EggMania: Where’s the Egg in Exactly? Being a word nerd like author and  former educator Sherry Maysonave of Mania Tales, I immediately caught on to the tag line in EggMania. You see, I might like words, but my dialect is all kinds of messed up (and I’m passing it to the kids). I don’t pronounce it “Exactly” but “Eggsactly”. You see why I had to smile.

source: iTunes

This eBook (available on iTunes for iPhone or iPad) chronicles the journey of a boy (named Gregg Kregg!) hearing the mispronunciation as he looks for that egg. While he searches for the egg, readers are taken on a journey of beautiful photos (which reminded me of Van Gogh and are illustrated by Denise  Caliva) and vocabulary (which you can click on words like “combated” and get the definition via an egg that pops up a fortune-style definition). The book is recommended for children ages 6-12 (grade 1-6), but my four-year-old was amazed. We also loved the facts that are on the right hand side of the book–she did ask why starfish might lose their arms, that one was a little fun to explain to her. (There are a total of 171 fun facts in the book!)

The whole book won’t capture a younger child to get through to the end in one sitting (it’s 190 pages and full of great facts within the beautiful pictures), but I am sure it would keep some of my older cousins would sit captivated through the entire book. The adults reading with their kids will enjoy the humor and the grammar lessons throughout.

Warning, the book does take a long time to download. If you choose to purchase the $9.99 app, just be patient. You’ll understand when you get the brilliant illustrations. Even the sample (which I also downloaded) takes about 10 minutes to add to your iBooks. This definitely frustrated my husband (who I put in charge of downloading) and made my kids impatient.

When I was asked to review this book, the thing that got me most intrigued was this part of the press release:

Acknowledging that kids learn through play, EggMania was written to entertain children growing up in a digital world while providing cerebral enrichment, specifically cross-lateral brain hemisphere stimulation that can increase intelligence by expanding neuronal pathways and synapse connections

And that’s why we parents need help these days–we have to keep these digitally-driven kids asking for more! Not only did I get to check out this book, Sherry Maysonave provided a tip sheet for raising kids in a digital world. Hopefully you’ll learn something from it, too.

Digital media for kids offers a unique platform for learning and long-term retention by activating multiple senses and cerebral pathways. Many digital products today, especially ebooks that blend entertainment with education, incorporate the three primary learning modalities simultaneously —visual, audio and kinesthetic, which increases learning potential significantly. Learning occurs depending upon the level of a child’s engagement, mentally and emotionally. So how can parents optimize their children’s screen time?

Six tips for using interactive ebooks to engage your kids:

1)      Visual Sense:

Choose illustrated ebooks that are visually-rich, those having artful (not merely stick figure kiddy art or cartoon types common to digital games) and colorful graphics to fully engage children visually and to stimulate their imaginations.

2)      Audio Sense:

Select ebooks that have two modes of reading: a) Narration with Enhanced Sound—music and sound effects; b) Read Myself. To optimize audio integration, allow children to enjoy and explore the narrated version with enhanced sound. Then, to practice oral reading skills, set up an audition for “the best narrator.” Use an audio recorder or smart phone to tape children’s versions. Allow them to create some fun sound effects and add music along with their narration. Parents may record for younger children who are not yet reading advanced vocabulary. Involve them in the nuances of your oral expression. Make it theirs by including their voice on the recording. Have them read, speak, or repeat after you, some of the words or short sentences.

3)      Kinesthetic Sense:

Encourage tapping and touching of the screen to activate kinesthetic and interactive components. To maximize these features, have kids zoom in and out on art images, tap for duplication or animation of image, and tap words for definitions. iPad users can take screen shots of illustrations, then print them in black and white for kids to color, paint, trace, or copy.

4)      Emotional Components:

A.     Host a live chat to discuss stories and illustrations with children; ask what’s their favorite illustration? And why? Their favorite words, etc. Avoid asking, “What did you learn?”

B.     Support the hero in your child. Develop their subjective thinking skills by helping them analyze the subtler life lessons typically inherent in children’s narratives. Kids do not always integrate what we think they will. Help them come to positive conclusions by asking them questions about the main character or characters, asking what they liked about them/him/her and didn’t like about them. Ask how they would respond to the dilemma or conflict if they were that character.

5)      Language Development:

Give kids a choice of two illustrations from an ebook or have them select two favorites. Then have them write a new story or poem based upon the illustrations and what the images inspire in their imagination. Older kids can be required to have a lexical humor slant to their story or poem, or to choose a genre such as comedy or drama.

6)      Memory and Family Fun:

Further develop kids’ memory and integration by extending the subject matter into family time by playing games, such as charades, using vocabulary-rich phrases from selected ebooks your children enjoy. A family/friends version of “Who’s Smarter than a Fifth Grader” can be played using the Fun Facts that some ebooks provide.

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Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this eBook to review. All opinions are 100% my own.

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