AppStore User Rating:
Drew’s Dancing Drum tells the story of a young boy learning to be himself in spite of criticism from others. The book promotes a number of positive values, such as seeking guidance from parents, handling bullies, and more.
- Highly interactive pages
- Three languages (English, Chinese, Spanish) available
- Colorful, engaging illustrations
- Optional narration
- Rhyming text
Drew’s Dancing Drum is a good quality e-book with a positive message that will appeal to many young children. The pages are loaded with interactions; nearly every picture on each page does something when tapped. Some interactions are very appropriate, such as animating a hug between father and son at a touching moment. Each page also has a hidden gingerbread cookie for children to find. Some of the interactions seem quite gratuitous, though, such as trees that grow and shrink or Christmas stockings that bounce. While they may be fun to find, they add little to the story.
There are some concerns with the mechanics of the book. Some children may find it difficult to turn the pages, since the page forward arrow is hidden. Users must first use a different arrow to open up the navigation on each page, then tap the arrow to move forward or backward in the book. It would be nice to have an option to tone down the background music, especially for children who have difficulty concentrating. The app plays an assortment of Christmas carols, but all at a fairly frantic pace and at a higher volume level than is necessary. Also, there are a few pages where some text is hidden until the user taps the text to have it read aloud. There is no indication that there is more to know on the page, so children who are trying to read on their own may miss a few key points in the story.
Drew’s Dancing Drum has a theme of learning to love yourself with subthemes related to managing outside criticism or bullying and listening to parents. It sends some very positive messages, especially to young children. It is always nice to find ebooks that build up character!
Drew, a young boy full of the joy of life, has a drum he loves and takes everywhere. In the middle of his happiness, another child makes fun of his drum and sucks much of the joy out of his world. His father helps him see that others’ words don’t need to affect how we feel about ourselves, and Drew resumes his happy outlook on life.
While the book does have a very positive message, it could be improved by making the message more clear. Young children, particularly those who are struggling with bullying, sometimes have difficulty with subtlety. The bullying depicted in the story is extremely gentle, and only comes from one person. The solution was simply Dad reminding Drew that the other boy was wrong to make fun of the drum. It might be important for young children to hear a stronger message that they should be themselves and not allow outsiders to influence their self-worth.
This app is very interactive. Each page has numerous animations and sound effects, almost to the point of overwhelm. Lights can be turned on and off, fires in the fireplace change color, trees grow and shrink, and animals jump and gyrate. It might be better for developers to focus on five or six interactions that better support the story and theme than to have so many (some pages have dozens) that seem a bit out of place.
Many ebooks also have short games to reinforce the main ideas of the story, and this one would benefit from a greater selection of activities. As it stands, each page has a hidden gingerbread cookie to find, but no other games that I could see.
Drew’s Dancing Drum is a free app, so it’s a great value even if your child only reads through it a few times. It’s got a very positive message and might help a child who is struggling with negativity from others consider asking a parent or teacher for help. That alone is important, and when you throw in the fun of tracking down the interactions on each page, it’s well worth your investment of time to download. I wouldn’t use it as bedtime fare, though! The background music is very fast-paced and is quite likely to wind children up instead of helping them relax.
This app is very child-friendly, but might be a bit difficult to use due to the placement of the navigation tools. There is an advertisement for another app from this developer in the page selection area, but it is not a live link.
- NO social media
- NO in-app purchase
- NO 3rd party ads
Drew’s Dancing Drum is a fun and festive app that sends positive messages to young children including be yourself, don’t listen to bullies, and ask your parents for help when you are having a problem.