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SOUNDS IN THE HOUSE by Karl Beckstrand


by Karl Beckstrand & illustrated by Channing Jones & developed by Customizabooks

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 2013
Publisher: Customizabooks

A terrified dog catalogs the strange noises in its home in a bilingual English/Spanish app. 

Narrated by a big-eyed hound who resembles Garfield’s long-suffering Odie, this slight mystery begins with a lengthy pronunciation primer on the Spanish language. Though the app doesn’t explicitly force readers to switch between English and Spanish text and narration, its first page begins in Spanish, and a large button that enables toggling between the two tongues is featured on every page. Those who take the hint will find a cute series of pages made of mostly simple sentences (“The clock ticks. A moth taps my window.” / “El reloj hace tic tac. Una polilla golpea contra la ventana”) in either language. The unnamed dog quivers in fear, comically freaking out at the sounds of a mischievous cat, moaning water pipes and a creaking tree outside. The dog gets the last laugh, however, when it scares its human owner; a loud “Boo!” it turns out, is just as scary in Spanish or in English. Cartoon illustrations throughout are simple, with unobtrusive animations activated by taps. The narration and text are handled well, and the story is suspenseful without ever getting too intense for younger readers.

For bilingual readers, those studying either language or anyone who likes stories about scaredy-cat dogs, this no-frills app may sound about right. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)