Way back in October, I posted something about driving. It was something about how I love road trips with my family, in part, because we have a tradition in our car of listening to storytelling CDs from Rabbit Ears. In this post, I mentioned that I didn’t know if Rabbit Ears CDs were even still available. It turns out that they are, and it also turns out that Ruckus Media is producing them as iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad apps. A sister blogger, The Culture Mom, also works for Ruckus Media, and she offered to give us the apps to check out.
Here are our impressions.
1. If you have kids under the age of 12 and you’ve got the right technology, go to iTunes and get them. Don’t even hesitate. One of the things we have loved about the CDs is that the stories are told by A-List actors, with A-List musicians backing them up (and more…the music helps to tell the stories). The apps have the same stories, the same music and they feature really beautiful artwork. When my son turned on “Tom Thumb and the Knights of the Roundtable,” he was blown away. As he said, “It isn’t animated, but the pictures still seem sort-of 3D.” After years of just listening, he really enjoyed seeing an artist’s rendering of the story.
2. If you are traveling anywhere this holiday season, next year or in the future, and you have the right technology, these apps will save your sanity. In the past, the CDs saved our sanity. When the kids started getting restless, we would put on a story. The car would become silent save for the narrator’s voice, and for a minimum of 30 minutes, peace, wonder and learning would prevail.
The Ruckus Media apps take this one step further. While my husband was skeptical at first, because he enjoyed the communal aspects of listening together, he quickly became a believer when I mentioned one word: “airplane.” The next thing I told him sealed the deal and made him a believer. This is what I said, “Dads can listen to sports radio and kids can listen to their apps.” Done. (What moms will listen to is still up in the air, but the answer is probably Beck on the iPod.)
3. If your kids are learning to read, they can read the story and record their voice onto the iPod/iPad/iPhone. My boys are accomplished readers, so they are not really interested in this part of the app, but I tried it and its fun! I can definitely see how an early reader would be both challenged and intrigued by recording her or his own voice reading a favorite story.
4. The price is right. With a price range between $.99 and $3.99 per app, you can’t beat the price. Even if you are not sure these are your family’s cup of tea, try them. You’ll be blown away by their quality and soon, you’ll be like us and have the entire Ruckus Media catalog.
I’ve written this before, but it is worth repeating. The Rabbit Ears CDs have enriched our family. We learned incredible stories from our nation’s history and from around the world. The stories are sophisticated, often hilarious (even for adults) and not at all dumbed-down. I truly believe they have given our boys a leg up in school. No joke. The Ruckus Media apps make the learning just that much more accessible and fun.
Currently, Ruckus Media has the following apps in their library: John Henry (told by Denzel Washington), Johnny Appleseed (Garrison Keillor), The Night Before Christmas (Meryl Streep), Pecos Bill (Robin Williams), Tom Thumb (John Cleese), The Velveteen Rabbit (Meryl Streep), The Steadfast Tin Soldier (Jeremy Irons), Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Meg Ryan) and The Three Little Pigs (Holly Hunter). I enjoy all of them, but I have to give a special shout out to the hilarious narration and improv of Robin Williams in the Grammy Winning Pecos Bill and the gorgeous music by Mark O’Connor which accompanies Johnny Appleseed.
Ruckus Media has been very gracious to donate 5 of their current apps as a giveaway to Brave Ski Mom readers. Leave a comment today to enter (I won’t publish the comments if they are just a name). Winners will be chosen in a random drawing on Monday, December 13 at 10:00 a.m. MST.
In addition, Ruckus Media has also recently released an original app for iPad called “A Present for Milo.” This interactive app targets pre-readers and young readers with more than 80 tap-interactive objects which start more than 125 animations during the story. I don’t have an iPad, so I couldn’t try it, but it sounds like a lot of fun. “A Present for Milo” is available at the iTunes store for $1.99 through December 22.
This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Jen, Michelle, Ben, Kim and Heather!
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