12 Huia Birds

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
12 Huia Birds App Poster Image
Conservation-themed story details bird's path to extinction.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kids learn about a now extinct bird species, including its habitat, what it looked and sounded like, and how it became extinct. Extras teach kids about conservation themes and how to help protect wild bird species.

Diverse Representations

Kids can hear the story in te reo Māori, an indigenous language of New Zealand. 

Ease of Play

Sometimes it takes some poking around to understand how to advance the story.

Violence & Scariness

Nothing graphic but there are some menacing predators and references to killing birds.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 12 Huia Birds is an interactive story that details the life -- and road to extinction -- of a bird species in New Zealand. Throughout the story, kids read along as 12 birds get picked off one by one until there are none left. Sometimes predators feel a bit menacing and it's sad to watch as the birds disappear. Sensitive kids may find it mildly distressing. Kids can choose to listen to a narrator read, or read the text themselves. The parent section -- protected by a parent gate -- includes a link to the developer's website where kids can learn more about the Huia birds. The app is available in English or te reo Māori. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Tap play on the home screen to start the 12 HUIA BIRDS story. At the beginning, kids meet the 12 birds and learn a bit about them. One by one, various predators come along and 12 birds turn into 11, turn into 10, and so on until none are left. Each page has a small interactive element for kids to find before they advance to the next page. The Discover tab includes options to learn more about the Huia bird or play three different versions of the classic memory game. There are also 12 ways tab with ideas for how kids can help wild birds.

Is it any good?

This story about a bird species going extinct is told in tidy rhymes with nice graphics -- and carries an important message about conservation. The mechanics of 12 Huia Birds are simple, even if it's sometimes not immediately obvious where to find the interactive element that's on each page. Although there's nothing graphic, sensitive kids might start to feel upset as one by one the birds fall prey to hungry invasive predator species and fashion-focused humans who want beautiful feathers for their hats. That said, the tension there makes the devastation more real. And with 12 ways kids can help wild birds, some kids may feel inspired to do something or change habits. The memory games are nothing special, but there are a few other extras to round out kids' learning. And including the version in te reo Māori is a nice touch of acknowledgement of native cultures. 12 Huia Birds is a nicely presented cautionary tale about how humans can inadvertently impact the environment in a negative way.   

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it feels like to see the huia birds slowly disappearing as kids read 12 Huia Birds. Does it feel right that they became extinct? Does it make you sad? Why or why not?

  • Discuss the theme of conservation. Read the suggested ways to help wild birds, and then come up with more ways to help keep the earth, and all its creatures, safe. Make it a family project to implement some conservation action steps.

  • What do you know about Maori culture and traditions? Help kids learn more about native cultures from New Zealand as well as other countries around the world.

App details

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