App review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2021
Little Owl - Rhymes For Kid‪s
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Little Owl - Rhymes for Kid‪s

Great language options for an OK but somewhat disappointing digital story

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Grades
Pre-K–K
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts

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Pros: With lots of languages to choose from, the story is easily accessible to kids with a variety of linguistic backgrounds.

Cons: The rhyming game may be confusing for kids.

Bottom Line: This slow, repetitive digital storybook offers a good selection of languages, but the overall experience isn't all that impressive.

Use Little Owl - Rhymes for Kids as a stand-in for story time. Students can easily work their way through the story on their own, using it as an independent learning center. If teachers read with students, they can stress the reason why the third option is always the best. Help kids hear the rhyme, and talk about why that item will help with the bump on Little Owl's head. The language options may also come in handy for teachers working with multilingual kids. Though the text isn't always a direct translation, with 14 options, teachers can have students read and practice rhyming in native and acquired languages.

After using the app, consider having kids write and/or draw their own stories that incorporate rhyming words in some way. Kids could build in the characters and situations in the app or create their own. Students could also develop multiple choices for other students and trade stories.

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Little Owl - Rhymes for Kid‪s is a simple interactive storybook that highlights rhyming words. The story starts when Owl gets a bump on the head and sets off for a stroll. After a while, Owl meets a friend who makes three suggestions for what Owl can put on the bump to make it feel better. The first two suggestions are always silly, whereas the third one is an appropriate remedy and also completes the narrative rhyme. Then Little Owl keeps walking until the next animal friend.

In the autoplay mode, the narrator goes through the suggestions automatically. Turn autoplay off, and kids must tap and drag each suggestion toward Owl's bump to hear the narrator continue. Teachers can choose how many animal friends Owl meets, turn the audio narration on or off, choose a language, and adjust other settings. Little Owl - Rhymes for Kids is available in multiple languages: Choose from 14 options in the settings menu. The English option is British, and some words may be unfamiliar for a U.S. audience. In addition to the main app purchase, there are separate in-app purchases to download two more Little Owl rhyming stories, each with a different theme.

Little Owl - Rhymes for Kid‪s has cute animal characters that will likely appeal to young kids, but the app's overall experience ends up falling a bit short. There's not much going on in the story, as the focus is mostly on highlighting the rhyming scheme. And though some kids might get a kick out of rejecting the silly suggestions that don't rhyme, it's quite likely that others will just be downright confused by the whole thing. Some final suggestions are also a bit odd, such as using frozen fries. Others will be unfamiliar to a non-British audience, such as the word "patch" to mean a bandage. And the animation is very basic and simplified. For example, images are recycled and used again with different labels, and the head bump remedies hover over Owl's head in a half-hearted attempt to make it look like Owl is trying the treatment out. It feels like the bulk of resources for making Little Owl - Rhymes for Kid‪s was invested in creating the story in 14 different languages. And that linguistic variety alone may make the purchase worth it for some classrooms, especially if there are multiple native languages in the class. With some innovative teacher involvement and extension activities, the app could be a solid jumping-off point.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Fun animals and attractive graphics have kid appeal, and most kids will be engaged -- for a while. But with an exceedingly slow pace and lack of variety, the experience can easily end up feeling dull.

Pedagogy

There's not much depth to the learning content here. Though there's some satisfaction in finally getting the right rhyme, some of the elements could also confuse kids.

Support

With 14 languages to choose from, it has wonderful linguistic variety. Beyond that, though, there's nothing to support extending learning or to show what kids have accomplished.


Common Sense reviewer
Mieke VanderBorght Researcher

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