About the App
Abby’s Stories app works like a narrated “read to me” type picture book developed by a Chinese Canadian family who wanted to teach Chinese through immersive reading. You can read more about the app and their story on their website. The app is free to download and you get a free story when you download the app, “Abby and Cooper go on a lion hunt”. There are 8 stories in total. The stories are sold in packs of 2, priced at $1.49 each. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the additional story titles.
Before the narrator reads, you first have to match the Chinese words to missing parts of the sentence on the page. Then, you will be read the sentences on the page. Readers can have the option of being read to in either Mandarin Chinese/Cantonese and English, or just Mandarin Chinese/Cantonese.
Protagonists are cute cuddly animal characters, comprising a cat named Abby 思思, her little brother Luca, and their doggy friend Cooper 乐乐.
Each story is 12 pages long and the illustrations are sweetly pastel coloured. It actually appealed more to my daughters and my son, maybe because of the colours? Abby the main character is a little girl, so that could also be part of the reason.
Chinese Language options:
Written Language options: Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese
Audio Language option: Chinese, Cantonese
App language options:
Both the Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese pronunciations were clear and accurate.
What’s good about the app
I like that the stories are set in daily life circumstances, such as playing football, having a bad dream, playing hide and seek. It’s very relatable for young readers. With the female narration, it feels like mummy is reading the book!
What’s not so good about the app
Instead of merely matching two phrases or words per sentence, the app developers could do without it completely. That way, it’s far more straightforward for the children to simply listen to the books. I doubt that my children actually learnt the phrases from matching it once. Hence, I would suggest to the developers that if they had wanted to build in a learning element, they could do a Q&A at the end, similar to the Epic Books app. Perhaps a matching game for the phrase to the picture too?
Additionally, it would make far more sense if currently the stories which are sold in sets of two, could be sold as individual books or a whole set (at a discounted price?)
Moreover, a few of the Chinese characters in the stories were displayed in Traditional Chinese despite the fact that I had chosen the Simplified Chinese language option.
Girls will probably like it more than the boys, because of the cutesy illustrations. This could be a nice time filler for children aged 3 to 6 years old.
I haven’t seen a lot of Cantonese reading/book app, therefore I think Cantonese home schoolers might find this app more useful as a supplementary reading activity than the Mandarin Chinese homeschoolers. For Mandarin Chinese home schoolers, you should totally try out Ellabooks app and/or Get Epic instead. These two apps work as a massive library collection, and you pay a monthly subscription price to access the books (all the books!), how awesome is that?
Where to purchase
Available to download on App store for free.
You get a free story with the app. Additional stories are sold within the app, at AUD$1.49 for a set of 2 stories.
App developer website https://www.lokoni.co
What other Chinese reading apps have you used that you and your children like? Do share them with us.
Additional story titles are as below：
Abby is a big girl
Abby’s monster dream
Abby and Luca’s seasons adventure
Abby and Cooper play football
Abby and Luca at dinner time
Father’s Day surprise
Songs and cuddles
Hide and seek