City Nights offers a refreshing alternative to traditional bedtime stories filled with forest creatures wearing pajamas. This digital picture book has a very urban feel to it, incorporating sights and sounds familiar to children living in the city. We think it would make a great addition to your bedtime library, so we awarded it a TOP PICK for Fun Educational Apps.
City Nights is a new app for the iPad by Tidepool Publishing, Inc. It has the features we have come to expect in high quality digital picture books, namely a Read to me option with a professional narrator, interesting interactive elements, and detailed artwork.
City Nights has a very simple user interface. The choice to turn the narration on or off occurs on the opening screen. On each page, there are two main controls. In the lower left corner is a puzzle piece, which accesses an Options menu for music and sound effects muting, along with a Help button and a Home button. There is also an icon that allows you to skip to any page in the story. In the lower right corner is the page turner.
The app opens looking out from the child's bedroom window at a view of the darkening sky, high above a busy street. The pacing of the narration is slow and relaxed, so there’s plenty of time to linger on each page. At first, there is lots to see, but soon, the transition to night is complete, and the child drifts off to sleep in mid-sentence.
Well-done digital picture books are among my most favorite apps. I think City Nights represents this category beautifully. Parents, you may notice that the story is told from a first person point of view; this was done intentionally so that a child gets to experience the story through the eyes and ears of the main character. Each page is a beautifully crafted collage with great attention to detail. There are also wonderful animations playing off the theme of light changing to dark. If I could make one suggestion, it would be to include more background music. I liked what there was, and I wanted more.
In A Nutshell-
Part prose, part poetry, the text of City Nights paints word pictures with urban sights and sounds- busses honking, trash cans tipping over, and traffic starting and stopping. As the activity gradually diminishes, the city becomes quieter, and soon the child falls asleep. If you and your little one like to snuggle with a good story app before bed, City Nights is definitely one you should consider. Its fresh approach and high quality design make it a TOP PICK for Fun Educational Apps.
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 FunEducationalApps.com on February 11, 2015. Nathalie is a mom of three, always looking for top fun educational apps to support kids learning the fun way! She is the founder of Fun Educational Apps and Co-funder of AppStar Picks, a free app listing top reviews for kids, from trusted websites. She created Fun Educational Apps as a way to help parents, educators and teachers discover great apps. Together with her kids, they try new apps on an ongoing basis.
This app was reviewed by Julie Peterson, a speech/language pathologist (SLP) currently working in a school setting, serving children with special needs ages 6-14.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Christy Goerzen/Natalia Morley Russel
Tidepool Publishing Inc.
6 - 8 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 2 - 6 +
Alley cats prowl, taxicabs purr and crosswalk signs ding... what other sounds do you hear in the city at night? Featuring original paper collage art, music and a rhyming story by an award-winning children's author, this interactive picture book features the sights and sounds of a bustling city as it goes to sleep.