Roxy and the Ballerina Robot by Slater Collins and Mo Moussa is the first book in the series of the Roxy Book App Series. This book includes 28 illustrated pages and can be read in English, Spanish and French. With the “tap to hear” feature, your child will be able to listen to this book in three different languages. This feature can help expose your child to other languages and learn the correct pronunciations of specific words.
Roxy and the Ballerina Robot begins with a young girl named Roxy and her father watching a commercial about a new toy that is available called a Robot Ballerina. Roxy desperately wants this toy but she doesn’t have enough money. Her father, Jack encourages her to save money by doing chores around the house so that she can buy this toy. At first, Roxy has trouble saving her money and even becomes upset with her parents. Roxy realizes it’s hard to save money and needs to learn how to resist spending it right away. With some help with her parents and some key strategies, she achieves her goal and learns a valuable lesson.
The illustrations in Roxy and the Ballerina Robot are vibrant and engaging. The story itself is well written and is about common issues that occur among many families. This book is very relevant during holiday season when everyone is giving and receiving gifts. This can be a time when saving money is challenging.
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1. What inspired to you write Roxy and the Ballerina Robot?
When I became a dad, I noticed that a lot of children’s media tended to focus on groups of friends and the challenges that they face together. E.g. Jake and the Pirates, Strawberry Shortcake, and My Little Pony. Media like this has a lot to say about friendship, but generally shies away from the topic of family.
Children learn by example, so if we want them to develop happy and healthy family relationships, then we need to provide them with media that illustrates happy and healthy families. The Roxy Books were born out of my desire to give children an example of a modern and fun-loving family.
Roxy and the Ballerina Robot is the first book in The Roxy Books series. My inspiration for the story came from that very primal desire that we all have felt for acquiring that one special toy. It is such a relatable concept that I felt both children and parents would really enjoy it.
2. What is your background with regards to app development?
I have worked as a software engineer in the video game industry for the last ten years. I have worked for Electronic Arts, Midway, and Activision.
Generally, the role of a software engineer is to implement the creative ideas of other people. Since I’m a creative person, I have always felt somewhat stifled. Developing Roxy and the Ballerina Robot has allowed me to branch out and fulfill more of my creative potential.
3. Can you explain the process in developing the Roxy Book series?
At the onset, I set out to achieve the highest quality possible in three key areas: entertaining story, great illustrations, and excellent reader experience.
So many kids book apps take their audience for granted. App developers always pad these apps with mini-games or superficial interactions. I took a hard stance against that way of thinking and decided that I was going to deliver a solid story that could stand on its own. I wrapped that story in an app and polished, polished, polished until it met my quality standards.
This app took me over three years from concept to launch. I acted as author, creative director, software engineer, and producer. I contracted an artist in California to do the illustrations and contracted several voice actors to do the English, Spanish, and French narrations.
4. Can you provide some tips for parents to help guide children in being exposed to the different features of the app?
For younger kids, the “Read to Me” feature works great because the app will narrate the story to the kids. Word highlighting during the narration helps kids follow along and identify the words being spoken. “Read by Myself” is great for more accomplished readers.
One of the features that I am most proud of is “Tap to Hear” on every word. If a child is reading on their own and gets stuck on a word, then they can just tap on it to hear it read aloud. It’s a subtle, but powerful teaching tool.
This app is also great for children learning a second language because they can be reading the story in Spanish, switch to English if they get confused, and then quickly switch back to Spanish again. Lastly, “Tap to Hear” works in all the supported languages so if a child is having difficulty with a French word, then they can tap on that as well.
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Disclaimer: I received a promo code for this app but did not receive any compensation for writing the review.