Highlights Magazine for kids has been an American staple for generations. It is still available as a print magazine subscription and is now also available in digital form. The publishers of Highlights have recently released a series of books, in both print and digital versions that include all the Highlights favorite sections but concentrate on a theme- these are the Highlights “All About” books. There are All About books with seasonal themes- Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, and also a variety of other themes including Camping, Pets and Transportation. The books are designed for children from 4+. I tested out the print and digital versions of the All About Spring and All About Fall books.
In digital format there is a free Highlights: All About app which includes the full version of All About Fall, other All About Books can be unlocked with in-app purchases - currently $1.99 per book. You can order the print versions from the Highlights website a set of 4 Season All About books is $19.98 and includes codes to unlock the digital versions for free. The print books are 24 pages with soft covers and measure approximately 8″x 11″.
The app is divided into 3 sections:
There are a variety of activities in the puzzle section including 3 hidden object puzzles ( 1 is in the print book), a 12-piece jigsaw puzzle (based on the Haiku that is in the print book), maze, matching game and a “That’s Silly” picture. I did find that the hidden objects and silly things were harder to spot in the digital edition, in the print book they are a double page spread over two 8″x 11″ pages, and much smaller on the iPad or iPad mini screen. I would love to see the iPad’s capability used more here by adding the option to pinch and zoom so the child can explore the scene in more detail and more easily find the details than can be easy to miss on the smaller screen.
There are 4 stories in the reading section. Two stories are presented in a traditional multi-page story with narration and word highlighting as the story is read, one of these is in the print book the other is a bonus story. There is an option to record your own narration to accompany the stories. The third story is presented as a short animated video with the story narrated, the words show on the screen as the story is read but there is no word highlighting as it is read. The fourth story appears in the print version with pictures replacing some of the words, in the digital version the child gets to first place the pictures in the right spots of the text (the words are written both under the picture and in the text box so they can match them). Once all the pictures in are in correct locations the story is read with word highlighting.
This section includes 2 “Brain Play” videos, 3 pictures to draw and an action rhyme to act out.
The Brain Play ideas have a similar format to the ones in the print book, but different topics – each video shows a group of children answering a question e.g. “What Class Would You Like to See Offered in Schools?”
The action rhyme is a short poem with actions and is the same as the one in the print version. In a nice twist the digital version lets the child record a short video of themselves acting out the rhyme as they see and hear the rhyme and see a child acting it out.
With the drawing activities the child is given a background, some stickers and colored pencils and asked to draw a picture on a theme e.g. “what is your favorite activity in the fall?” Each of the 3 pictures has a different background. The drawing tools are very simple, it would be nice to see some extra features added such as different size pencil tips and the ability to re-size stickers.
True to the Highlights theme the All About books and apps are fun with a purpose – children get to practice their observation skills, visual discrimination, fine motor skills, reading and listening skills whilst having fun with games and stories. Most of the content is the same in the print and digital editions but there is some bonus content in the digital version and the addition of some videos and animation. There are a few places where I would like to see the iPad’s capability used more fully, with addition of the ability to zoom in the hidden object and “that’s silly” pictures, more refined art tools in the drawing sections, and the addition of narration to the story video. This app does contain in-app purchases, and un-purchased books are visible on the bookshelf, if the “buy” button is pressed a maths question must be answered correctly before the app store can be accessed.
If you are a fan of Highlights for Children magazine I would definitely recommend checking out the Highlights: All About App – you will get the All About Fall book for free, and the other books are a good value.
This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.
This review was originally published by TheiMums.com on April 2, 2015. The iMums – Amanda, Alison, Mary and Grace – are four mothers from different parts of the world dedicated to educating parents about the best digital stories, educational apps, fun games and technology products available for their children. Founded in August 2011, the four iMums have 11 kids among them ranging in age from 1 to 17 and bring a global perspective to their app reviews.
The original iMum Amanda being from Australia, Alison is in America, Grace is from Singapore and Mary is from the UK but is currently living in America. Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Highlights for Children, Inc.
15 - 20 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 3 - 6 +
Highlights’ popular ALL ABOUT themed activity book series is now an app! You’ll find exciting interactive play that matches your favorite activities from the books and encourages creativity and learning.
Children ages 4+ will love exploring this colorful, fun-filled series that includes
• Animated stories and poems
• Challenging games and puzzles
• Recordable video action rhymes
• Creative art play
• Bonus content you won’t find in the books
Your FREE Highlights ALL ABOUT download comes with the Fall edition, featuring tons of stories and activities in which you can read about the joys of autumn, search for hidden pine cones, play a matching game with falling leaves, and other Fall fun!
Check out our other editions, including: Summer, Pets, Transportation, Rain and more. Even better, when you buy the print version of any book in the series, you’ll get a code to download that app edition FREE!
EACH EDITION FEATURES:
• A different kid-friendly topic that provides hours of interactive fun
• Audio stories with option to record your own narration
• Record-your-own videos to send to family and friends
• MY FIRST HIDDEN PICTURES™ puzzles, a just-right challenge for younger kids
• Virtual stickers to collect when you complete games and puzzles
• Animated poems, rebus stories, drawing activities, Brain Play pages, PLUS even more challenges that aren’t included in the books
• FUN WITH A PURPOSE™ that builds school skills while kids play
Highlights ALL ABOUT is parent-gated to keep kids safe and prevent accidental purchases.
For more than 65 years, Highlights for Children has been helping kids become their best selves through Fun with a Purpose™ magazines, puzzle clubs, games, books, toys and digital products. Founded by Dr. Garry and Caroline Myers in 1946, Highlights was built on the belief that children are the world’s most important people.™ Today, every Highlights product is designed to help children become confident, caring, curious and creative individuals.