The Swan, by the Music Bee Club, is an interactive story set to the timeless music of Camille Saint-Saens. Based on the work "Le Carnaval Des Animaux", The Swan is a whimsical tale meant to open children's minds to the possibility of music as a language. The piece, performed by Carter Brey, Principal Cellist of the New York Philharmonic, is beautifully done and one that will present classical music to young children in a way that will delight them.
The app opens to a main menu where users choose to listen to the story, read and listen to the story, listen to the music only, or listen to the story in Korean. The tale is one that teaches a lesson. A beautiful swan wants nothing to do with the other inhabitants of the pond, only to compliment herself. She glides around the lake ignoring everyone but her own reflection. She soon comes to realize that she is lonely and seeks to repair her relationship with the others at the pond. Narrated over the soothing strands of the classical music, the two blend together seamlessly as the user experiences the story.
The interactive components of the story are simple. Tap on the other pond neighbors to see them flip or turn. Or tap the pond itself to change the color scheme from a cool blue morning to a warm red sunset or a green summer day. Additionally, players can guide the swan through four levels of a maze.
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This app has a beautiful piece of music attached to it. The song is soothing and calm and performed brilliantly. One thing I found very interesting is that the song and story are so seamless, that as I listened to the story, I almost missed the music. It was only when I went back that I heard the music as well. I appreciate how much the two complement each other. While the graphics are average, they were all drawn by the developer's 16 year old daughter. This personal touch is nice backgroud knowledge. The interactions are minor, though I did very much like the transition of color when you tapped on the pond. The colors really elicited feelings of sunrise or sunset.
Overall, The Swan, Music Bee Club is a storybook app set to a beautiful piece of music. While the interactions and graphics are average, the story and music complement each other very well. My baby enjoyed the color changes and music as she sat on my lap while we listened to the story.
The Swan, Music Bee Club is availabe for download via the iTunes App Store - iPad/iPad Mini - RRP - $1.99/£1.49/€1.79
This app was reviewed by Sarah Emerling, a mom, teacher, and technology coach. She is woefully lacking in her knowledge of classical music, but she knows what she enjoys. You can follow her ed. tech. blog at The iLesson Lady.
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Disclosure: This review was move up the waiting list priority-services. All opinions expressed are purely that of the author.