Monster Birthday Surprise logo

Monster Birthday Surprise for iOS

Developer's Description

Monster Birthday Surprise is one of three interactive storybooks, along with Monster Frog Pond, and Monster Music Factory, brought to you by Professor Ginsboo's Magical Number Production Company. Based on a decade of research at Teachers College, Columbia University, the interactive storybooks are a playful approach to early math learning. Monster Birthday Surprise is designed to help young children, roughly ages 4 to 6 years, learn how number can be expressed in many ways-objects, dots, symbols.

Monster Birthday Surprise is the story of how three charming monsters-Oona, Tigga, and Marluk-decide to get Oona's sister a present for her ninth birthday. Marluk goes to the balloon store. To make sure that he gets the right number of balloons, Marluk carries pictures-one of 6 red balloons and one of 4 purple ones. His job-and the job of the child interacting with the book-is to get the right numbers of red and purple balloons and then check to make sure that the number of balloons matches the number of balloons in the pictures, proving that the result is accurate.

Oona goes to the supermarket to get the right number of Monster Mix Cartons, each of which contains worms, snozzleberries, slimeballs, and tentacles. She-and the child-can determine how many to get by consulting a picture showing 4 green dots in a row. Again, the child learns that checking the answer, by matching each carton with each dot, is essential. Oona next has to get the right number of cucamelon boxes, and is again helped by a picture of dots, this time showing 5 in a row. Each dot matches one cucamelon box in the cart.

Tigga goes to the bakery to get cupcakes for the party. He knows the number to get from consulting a picture of a numeral-that is, a written number. The child learns that 8 refers to eight cupcakes and helps Tigga get the right number. As the cupcakes fly in the box, they arrange themselves in a line of 5 and a line of 3 immediately below. This careful arrangement makes it easier for the monster, and the child, to check the result by counting the cupcakes. Next, the numeral 7 tells Tigga how many to get next and again the child helps to get the right amount.

After the monsters get their presents, they gather in the store to pick out a card for Neenee's ninth birthday. When they-with the child's help-eventually find it, they learn that it has the word "nine" in front, and inside is the numeral 9, and also nine stars in a row of 5 and underneath it a row of 4. The card summarizes what we want the child to learn from the story: that a picture of the objects, stars (or dots) standing for the objects, written numbers, and numerals, all can be used to indicate (symbolize) an amount.

After the monsters have obtained their presents and the card, they go to the surprise birthday party, where they have a scavenger hunt to find 9 objects (including boxes, candles, dots) deployed in different places around the room. What a wonderful party!

The other two books in the series, Monster Frog Pond, and Monster Music Factory, also help the child to learn basic ideas about number and strategies for solving simple, everyday life math problems.

Full Specifications

What's new in version


Release September 29, 2020
Date Added September 29, 2020

Operating Systems

Operating Systems iOS
Additional Requirements Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPad.


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