Young children may still sing the traditional alphabet song, but many now learn their ABCs using alternative methods. One of the more creative ways for kids to learn their ABCs is the new narrative learning app My Beastly ABCs from Duncan Studio.
My Beastly ABCs is an interactive and educational story about a young boy's magical day with beasts from all over the world. It starts off with the letter "A" and the Abominable snowman and ends with "Z" and a group of zombies. Each letter tells a different tale and introduces a new beast -- some beasts like the Will-o'-the-wisps are friendly, while others like the Vampire are a bit scary.
Each letter also has an interactive element that lets your child take part in the story. My favorite scene was the letter B which featured a green boogey monster hiding in a dark closet. Your child has control over a flashlight that lights up a small portion of the closet and they must find the boogey man with the light and scare him away. As soon as your child finds him, though, the boogey man disappears to another part of the closet and the hunt for him begins again.
My Beastly ABCs is a carefully constructed tale that is enjoyable for children and adults alike. The story is fun and whimsical, while the narration work of Jim Dale, who also did the Harry Potter audio books, is top notch. There's an attention to detail in the app that you often don't find in children's apps. This is reflected in the gentle glow used to the highlight interactive element in each scene. Rather than tapping randomly on items to see if they moved, my kids loved searching for the small item that was glowing on each page.
My Beastly ABCs is available from the iOS App Store for US$3.99. It is compatible with any iPad running iOS 4.3 or later.