“The Adventures of Anna & Mei Ling: Super Sundae"
iPanAsianLearning has a new iPad & iPhone app for kids called “The Adventures of Anna & Mei Ling: Super Sundae." Asianmommy received a free app for review.
This app tells the story of a little girl named Anna and her Chinese cousin named Mei Ling. Jing Li, Anna's pet panda, was hungry one day, so the girls decided to make some ice cream sundaes to eat.
This animated story has cute characters with a storyline told in English with accompanying English words or in Mandarin with accompanying Chinese characters and pinyin. The words are highlighted as they are spoken, so it's easy to follow along with the reader.
What I liked: One nice feature of this app was the ability to practice writing English words or Chinese characters. You can write on the iPad or have the iPad write for you, showing you the correct stroke order.
What could be improved: This app is not for beginners just starting to learn Mandarin. The sentences are too long, and you have to keep turning the pages mid-sentence, which makes it difficult to switch back and forth between Chinese and English and be able to correlate the English words with the Chinese characters. I would say that this app is better suited for older kids who are already familiar with Mandarin. A Chinese-English glossary would have been helpful.
Also, there are special buttons to touch on each page, which allow English words and Mandarin characters to pop up, labeling items in the background, such as "tree" or "grass." This is a fun addition to the app. The only problem is that for beginning students, there's no accompanying pinyin or auditory component for the special buttons, so it's hard to figure out how to pronounce the words in Mandarin, which can be frustrating.
That said, I'm happy to see more Chinese & English language apps for kids, and I look forward to the day when my kids can understand stories such as this in Mandarin.