Billy’s Coin Visits the Zoo by Spinlight Studios is an interactive storybook that has become a preschool standard. All the features that we love in storybook apps are present…original story and creative design, professional narration with highlighted text, and the ability to find and learn something new in each retelling. In addition, beautiful graphics, realistic animal sounds, and rhyming verse makes this book a winner. The artwork is beautifully detailed in fabric collage and sculpture that adds depth and a sense that the story is happening in the here and now.
Each page has an activity that facilitates attention by drawing kids into the story and allowing them to become a part of it. The story proceeds from activity completion rather than page turning arrows and reinforces comprehension. I love the fact that there is a beginning, middle, and end of each page, and kids get to practice listening for direction before acting.
A Look Inside Billy’s Coin Visits the Zoo
Under settings, kids can choose a male or female voice in having the story read to them or select “Read by Myself”. As the story opens, Billy’s mom has given him a coin to spend at the zoo but drops it down a drain. Children then follow and direct the coin throughout the zoo, giving this book a twist on the perspective of visiting the zoo.
The coin visits 12 different animals – monkeys, an alligator, a toucan, a kangaroo, and others. The animals one-by-one reject the coin and flip, spit out or toss it out of their cage where it is received by another. In the end, a seal bounces it in the air, where Billy finds it much to his delight. He then uses his coin as an animal toy.
In “The End” fun facts about the animals appear with the bought toy, and you have a chance of collecting all 12 of them with each retelling of the story. The app not only teaches about the temporal aspects of play, but also helps teach self-regulation, impulse control, and listening to direction. This interactive storybook is truly infectious and original.
Reading the book with Bluebee lends itself to all sorts of ideas for extending play. Set Bluebee IN the zoo, and have him ask questions of all the animals in your child’s room. Or take Bluebee to the Zoo!
This review was adapted from an original post by Jo Booth OTR/L on TWA