Pete and the secret of flying HD by Shape Minds and Moving Images GmbH

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The Turkey Who Forgot How To Gobble by Alexis Purcell

The Turkey Who Forgot How to Gobble from Alexis Purcell is a delightful adaptation of her book about Joey the Turkey and his journey after having a minor mishap with an apple.  This universal book app is available in both English and Spanish and features a “read to me” and “read to myself” method of using the app.  The app features Joey the Turkey who is hit on the head with an apple and forgets how to gobble.  His friends Lisa, Rudy the Rooster,  Patrick the dog, Minnie-moo the cow, Wiskers the cat and Gillie the turkey try to help him remember how to gobble with some unexpected results.

The illustrations in this app are Read more …

The Land of Me - Story Time by Made in Me Ltd.

This book app is one of the finest examples of digital storytelling to come across my tablet in a long time. It is beautifully made, created by The Land of Me. Upon opening it, readers are greeted by a scene with a serious but loving storyteller in the form of Granny Olive and three juveniles: a bear named Buddy Boo, a raccoon named Eric and a bird named Willow. This wise old tortoise will have your child as enthralled as her three charges, the minute you open this app. It is lovingly detailed, solidly built and thoughtfully tailored to its target audience of ages 2-6+.

While the stories in this app are very short (barely 2 minutes long), there is enormous replay value, since there are Read more …

A Troop is a Group of Monkeys by LITTLE BAHALIA PUBLISHING LLC

Little Bahalia Publishing's first book app, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, is a short but sweet title featuring gorgeous illustrations with polished animation and well-crafted interactive elements. Each page has a different animal featured with the proper plural term for a group of each species. From a parliament of owls to a tower of giraffes, children will enjoy learning about the unique (and often comical) names for multiple creatures of any type. Among my child's favorites was the bloat of hippopotami and the quiver of cobras.

The story is simple, but well put together with subtle alliteration and nicely paced rhyming text. Colorful and engaging illustrations come to life with a Read more …

Babel, the King - EPIC animated storybook by EPIC Web Agency Sprl

Babel, The Cat Who Would Be King is a stunning new book from EPIC, where 'every pixel counts' (and it shows). Told in English or French, this must-download app weaves a tale about an ambitious cat, a sly caged bird and a castle built to touch the sky. Full of political intrigue, plot twists and charming characters, this beautifully illustrated title is one of the most unusual and enjoyable apps to come across my screen in a long time. It even features subtle literary allusions (especially to the biblical Tower of Babel) in a way that will have both adults and children riveted from the first page to the last. The story, music and polished production values for all the Read more …

Horton Hatches the Egg - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Horton Hatches the Egg makes a great transition from print to digital, with the beautiful sketches from Dr. Seuss's 1940 title coming to life despite the limited color palate of this title (it uses only two colors, common to early picture books where every color added great cost to printing). This title came before the more famous 1954 edition, Horton Hears a Who!, and both titles served as inspiration for the musical Seussical, which premiered in 2000.

Many readers will be more familiar with the later story of Horton and the bird Mayzie, involving a whole world of little 'whos' but this title is a great 'prequel'. Many kids today will also have seen the popular 2008 movie version Read more …

Peepers: A Zany Peep at Opposites by Once Upon an App

This simple children's book about opposites has anything but a simple approach to it's design.  Peepers are bird-like creatures with colorful, crazy "feathers", zany eyes and extra long legs.  The illustrators' whimsical style matches perfectly with the text, sound effects and cheerful narration.

This book has two modes, interactive or automatic. The interactive mode is by far more fun, though, allowing the child to choose between two possible words to fill in the blank for the 'opposite' word in each pair (ex. "I say, fancy, You say ______." plain or sparkly). The child then can touch/hold & drag the correct word into the blank, although this took my child & I a Read more …

Mabel & Lulu : The Real Life Adventures - An Interactive Children's Book for iPad by Apphaus Design Inc

"Mabel, LuLu, adventures right on que" sings this book as you open it. It's VERY catchy, like get-stuck in your head catchy. My son has been humming it all day. Two very cute dogs, Mabel & LuLu, are the main characters in these two stories, along with their 'mom' Beth-Anne. 

I say she's the mom because these dogs are definitely the type of pets that are people, even in real life I suspect. That's because Beth-Anne is the name of the developer and it's clear from reading her website that she lives, loves and maybe even daydreams story adventures about her two pups. I'm a cat person by nature, even a bit afraid of dogs sometimes, but I LOVED these two stories. They will appeal not Read more …

The Vitamin Adventures of Don and Flip by EMANTRAS

This ebook for the iPad is under the category 'Games' and it is really more of an educational game, although it does have over 20 pages of 'story' to go along with its 'extras'. It stars two birds, Don and his side-kick Flip. The birds are irreverent and not always kind to each other, but in a funny way that is typical of many cartoons aimed at children. For instance, in one of the first books Don calls Flip 'stupid' which can be a concern for many parents. It didn't bother me, but I usually talk to my child about these types of cartoon interactions whenever I catch them in media he watches.

The stories, each about 4 pages, end with a short game with falling foods that represent things you Read more …

Happy Birthday to You! - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media

Happy Birthday to You! by Dr. Seuss, takes the reader to a magical land where birthday's are celebrated with great fanfare. The story is told in the 2nd person, celebrating the birthday of the reader. As the 'Great Birthday Bird' guides the listener on their magical birthday journey, messages about how special 'you' are abound. First published in print in 1959, this book features the classic illustrations & storytelling of Theo Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. 

For the read-a-long effect, each word is highlighted as it is narrated. Tap on any word to hear it spoken, even in the 'read-it-myself' mode. Dr. Seuss books are great for children learning to read because they are Read more …

Goosed Up Rhymes HD by Brain Freeze Entertainment

According to Wiktionary.org & my handy bookmark at Thesaurus.com, to goose-up is "to boost or take steps to make something appear more attractive, to increase or augment." And Goosed-up Rhymes could not have been more appropriately named. It is an app that is so packed with games, tappable interactivity and hidden surprises that I emailed the developer to be sure I hadn't inadvertently missed something. I usually spend a few hours with an app, but this one took twice the normal time to review, simply because it has more than twice the content of a typical book app.

The book is broken into 8 'pages' with each nursery rhyme presented as a full multi-media event. Read more …

Lazy Bird by Tatyana Mironova

Featuring charming illustrations and a fun storyline, Lazy Bird is a book app that young readers, ages 5-8, will enjoy. It is longer than the average picture book but shorter than a chapter book, filling a unique space in between, for young readers bridging to longer text. The overall length does seem excessive at times, however, indicating a need for additional editing and polishing for this otherwise lovely indie publication.

The story is about a young bird named Frank who overpacks for his flock's trip to Hawaii. There are a lot more details to the plot, but this is the basic story arc, which involves Frank taking many shortcuts out of laziness. He has someone else pack his suitcase and Read more …

Spatter & Spark Pro by Polk Street Press LLC

This absolutely adorable storybook app from the Polk Street Press, creators of Goodnight Safari & The 12 Days of Christmas was just released last week. It features an original story from New York Times bestselling children's book author Deborah Underwood and a whole host of interactive in-story and extra activities. Pitch-perfect enhancements and a lot of thoughtful care in development make this a seamless storytelling experience your kids will return to over and over. And there's even a way to find out just how often and how much kids are reading with an email option to get parent reports.

Spatter & Spark is definitely a 5-Star app in more than one way, especially for really Read more …

The Chicken & the Egg HD by Allan Plenderleith

This absolutely adorable storybook app by Allan Plenderleith stars a cute little chicken who cannot seem to lay her very own egg like all the other chickens on the farm. When a stone rolls into her nest after a hard rain, everything changes. Told with well paced narration and exceptionally polished animation and interactivity, this simple story will enchant the youngest readers and anyone young at heart.  

As a digital app this title is very solidly made, although it's a bit sparse on settings. There is no way to turn off the narration for a 'read myself' mode, for instance (other than muting the device), no option for highlighting and not even a page guide to pick a favorite scene Read more …

Beau Crow – The Greedy Crow by Jason Harris

This lightly animated and interactive book by Jason Harris features great illustrations and a fun, rhyming story about a crow that cannot stop eating. He misses his flock as they are flying south, growing larger and larger in size until he can scarcely move. When a hungry fox happens upon him, the greedy crow tries to change his ways ... but will it be in time?

This short, but engaging story includes some hidden settings, like a page guide & home button (double tap to reveal them); even narration is hard to figure out at first, but you simply tap on each section to hear it read. The app also includes a way to record your own narration, a nice addition. The voice-over included is lovely, Read more …

Bubble Tubbie by Epiphany Schwarz LLC

Bubble Tubbie was created to be "a sensory romp through a child's imagination as they experience the most cherished of childhood rituals; The Bubble Bath." And without question, this is one very engaging read, featuring over a dozen pages of touchable, tappable exploration for little fingers. Created for children under six, this app is a great companion to Bubble Tubbie's other products, which are quite a bit more submersible. The print title is available in hardcover with stickers that can be used in the bath or as a waterproof (laminated) book to actually read in the tub. Bubble Tubbie also has a line of fun-looking bath toys.

The story itself is more of a long, meandering poem told Read more …

A Word's a Bird by Syntonie & Actialuna

A Word’s a Bird, Spring Flies By In Rhymes by French developer Syntonie, the publishing imprint of Actialuna, SAS, brings Caldecott Award-quality to the iPad. The app includes sections for April, May, and June, as well as a “take off” poem that introduces the poetry collections’ shared theme. To visit the poem for each month from the splash screen simply tap on the square with the month’s name. After doing so the reader encounters the poem for the given month as well as an accompanying animation. 

The four poems, which the reader can enjoy in English or French, remain accessible to children even while employing poetic techniques including meter, rhyme, and Read more …

A Shiver of Sharks by LITTLE BAHALIA PUBLISHING LLC

This is Little Bahalia Publishing's sequel to Julie Hedlund's first book app, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys. This title focuses on the creatures of the sea, featuring Pamela Baron's gorgeous illustrations with light but polished animation and well-crafted interactive elements. Each page has a different animal grouping shown with the proper plural term for a group of each marine species.

From a swarm of eels to a herd of seahorses, children will enjoy learning about the unique (and often comical) names for scores of sealife that go way beyond your usual school of fish. Among my favorites was the smack of jellyfish and fever of stingrays, plus the lovely narration is there Read more …

Have You Heard - kids interactive book app by Yoozoo Limited

Children love a garbled story ... the errors teach as much as they entertain. This book app, created with Kwiksher software, weaves a delightful story with an ending that is full of surprises. The tale begins with Farmer Blue, arriving on his tractor to talk to a little bird, Peko. He tells Peko that he needs to go to town to get three things, plus one 'surprise', although something gets lost in translation as the message travels across the farm ...

This app features simple but crisp and colorful graphics with nice narration (British accent). After meeting Farmer Blue, Peko passes the story on, resulting in a list of items so far off from the original, that the 'surprise' the farmer Read more …

Scrambled Eggs Super! - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Scrambled Eggs Super! - Dr. Seuss from Oceanhouse Media, was published in print in 1953, early in Geisel's prolific career. The story is about a boy (Peter T. Hooper) who suggests that 'just for a change', it would be interesting to scramble a variety of exotic bird eggs for the dish. Most (if not all) of these suggestions involve whimsical, imaginative and non-existent creatures that hover beautifully between the realm of birds and dinosaurs, with just the right touch of anthropomorphized characteristics to make them deeply engaging and relatable. According to Wikipedia:

"At the beginning of the story, Peter T. Hooper brags to a girl, Liz, in his mother's kitchen about how Read more …

Georgie and the Birthday Girl by BammBosh Ltd

Georgie and the Birthday Girl is an adorable, interactive digital storybook by Colin Treanor with developer bammbosh. Featuring a magic dog kennel and a puppy named Georgie, this book will enchant young listeners and pre-K readers with its cute cartoon characters. The story has unique interactivity that lets the child drive the narrative, alongside light animation. It is also narrated with highlighting of a delightfully crisp British accent (including British spelling in the text).

The storyline is simple but well tailored for this young audience. Georgie's friends plan a special treat for Pebbles, a cute panda. With a little ingenuity, they make their plans a success despite meddling by an Read more …

How Rocket Learned to Read – by Tad Hills by Random House Digital, Inc.

The 2010 New York Times bestselling title, How Rocket Learned to Read is one of those paper books that makes a great interactive app, especially with the thoughtful enhancements from Random House Kids. Not only is it lightly animated with nicely tailored interactive elements, but these additions rarely distract from what is essentially a beautifully constructed story. Tapping the page causes Rocket's tail to wag or his eyes to blink, but most enhancements focus on the young reader. Parents, teachers & librarians will appreciate the educational features, like tap-to-hear for individual words, along with highlighting word for word in time with the lovely narration by Hope Davis.

This app Read more …

Jerry's Day Out by Ink Robin, Inc

Since app developer Ink Robin came on the scene last year, I have been a big fan of theirs.  Some of my all-time favorite storybook apps were developed by Ink Robin. If you haven’t checked out my review of Piccadilly’s Circus or The Hippo, The Rhino, The Elephant… And Me – you really should.  Both stories are wonderful and the illustrations in Piccadilly’s Circus are dreamy (and it is quite funny).  Ink Robin just released Jerry’s Day Out and it is filled with photographs around New York that the developers took themselves.  There is a really cute map that shows you all the main hot spots in New Read more …

Collins Big Cat: The Farmer’s Lunch Story Creator by Harper Collins Publishers Limited

The Collins Big Cat series was created in the past decade by UK based Collins Education, the third-largest educational publishing house in the United Kingdom, and an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. The Farmer's Lunch, based on the print title by Paul Shipton, was published in 2009. According to the description:

"It's lunchtime and the farmer's hungry, but his lunch box is empty! He turns to all the animals on his farm for help, the sheep, cows, horses and geese, but they are all being very secretive. Are they hiding his lunch, or a much bigger and better surprise? The delightful illustrations develop the text, providing lots of points for discussion." Read more …

Mabell's Zoo - Interactive Counting Book by Brenda Long

Mabel's Zoo is a simple but lovely storybook app that explores familiar animals found in a zoo for the very youngest readers. Simple text, lacking grammatical polish, accompanies each patchwork scene. "Elephant gives rides to the birds", "Monkeys swing from vinces and each other" and "Tangs bring sunshine to the ocean" are typical phrases found in this book app, explaining to young listeners the basics of wildlife. Within the app's 10 pages (no pageguide), children will find the sounds and sights of many zoo animals. This is an app that is fun to explore and share with a young child, especially when teaching about the natural world and animals.

Recommended.

This app has been thoroughly Read more …

Angus the Irritable Bull by Watermark Limited

We all know an Angus in real life — the grumpy person everyone is afraid to upset lest they have to deal with the bull. There is a possibility that I am married to an Angus (not really, my darling husband, go back to stomping daisies while I review). It's important to remember that irritable people, who are not like my husband at all, might not even know why they are grumpy and they just need a friend who will stick by them.

Angus is a grumpy bull. The cows, the dogs and even the farmer avoid him until one day, a little bird lands on his back. Angus tries to shoo the bird, but the bird takes up residence and without giving the ending away, makes Angus' life better.

The Read more …

Where Do the Swans Sleep? - a fairy tale picture book by HAORGA GmbH Computersysteme-Service-Beratung

*Note: This storybook contains no text for the story for read-along, only audio narration.* 

Looking for a picture book app for tonight’s bedtime? Check out Where Do the Swans Sleep? by Felix Hofmann. This picture book app includes music, audio narration and stunning illustrations where kids follow Felix on an exciting dream journey through the wild, in search of the answer to one question: 'Where do the swans sleep?'

Your kids follow Felix, a young boy that turned into a swan in his dream and goes on a journey in search of an answer. There are 9 beautifully illustrated pages, each one with music and audio narration but no text. Although we like the concept, we found that Read more …

Dentist Bird: A West African Folktale by LITERARY SAFARI INC

Dentist Bird: A West African Folktale by Literary Safari Inc. is a wonderful story to share with young children and is a must have app for anyone teaching diversity, compassion, and empathy. The book was written and retold by Michael Richards and has been illustrated by David Wolobah, he applies oil paint to denim with knife and palette for a distinct and original style that enriches the story ten-fold. If you are as intrigued with the art work as we were, watch this moving interview with the Liberian artist here. The awesome story contains surprising visuals and a cacophony of animal sounds throughout, couple this with a Read more …

Goodnight Coop by BokBok Books

This new book app, by promising new developer BokBok Books, is a delightful bedtime story perfect for the digital age. Goodnight Coop follows the nighttime routine of a chicken coop with a lyrical tale reminiscent of Goodnight Moon and other classic bedtime books. From "the clothes on the line" to "the black and white cat", each line resonates with a sense of importance delicately balanced alongside the simple storyline.

This is truly a classic-in-the-making, giving young readers a chance to settle in for the night with well-paced storytelling. The coop of fluffy hens includes Fran, Peeper, Ginger & Maryanne. They all know when it's time to go inside and settle down for sleep, Read more …

Boy and the Seagull by Oleksandr Ronzhyn

Boy and the Seagull is a charming story of a boy and his friend the Seagull. This app is great for children under 5 and easy for little hands to use. The story begins in a beautiful coastal town where a Seagull and his seagull friends live.

One day, the Seagull saw a small boy looking at him through a window and so it flew down to the boy. Their friendship grew stronger from that day onwards. One morning, the Seagull visited the boy and told him he was leaving for Seagull Island. Because the boy could not fly with him, the Seagull told the boy to use his mind in order to imagine the journey to the island. Through a series of fascinating encounters the small boy meets underwater friends Read more …

Kiwaka Story by Landkae, Lda

We begin our story in Kiwaka, isolated deep in the African jungle, where we meet four fantastical animal friends:

  • A brightly colored toucan, Tuka
  • A slithery, sly snake, Shaka
  • A pink elephant, Kudi
  • A bright, blue crocodile, Kwilu

The four made up an unlikely group of friends who loved to spend nights stargazing together. The friends knew that the stars in the sky formed constellations, but they didn’t know much about them and they wanted to learn more. Tuka remembered a legend that fireflies carried the light of the stars…maybe the fireflies in Kiwaka could tell the friends more.

Sure enough, the fireflies were able to share stories with the group of friends and begin to Read more …

Little Chickies (Los Pollitos) by Canticos - Sing, Play & Learn with Latino Nursery Rhymes by Encantos Media Studios, Llc

Little Chickies (Los Pollitos) – Sing, Play & Learn with Latino Nursery Rhymes by Encantos Media Studios, Incis the quintessential necessity for all modern day preschoolers of any sociological background. In a time when cultures are being homogenized and nursery tales are losing popularity, along comes Canticos to change all that and remind us just how important it is to keep this heritage going. These nursery rhymes are delivered in 8 different languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Hindi, Mandarin and Japanese. The adorable illustrations are a pure delight to both children and parents alike. The gameplay is open-ended, uber creative and Read more …

Over in the Jungle by Dawn Publications

Over in the Jungle is a beautifully illustrated book app based on the print title published in 2007. Author Marianne Berkes weaves a simple but sweet story about jungle animals over ten pages, counting one-by-one until by all the animal babies have been found. This well-crafted tale, told in rhyme, is delightful and can be read aloud, narrated (with highlighting) or even sung to young listeners.

As lovely as the story is, the illustrations are even better! Beautiful colors depict diverse creatures from monkeys to insects with light interactivity and animation. The jungle comes alive with Jeanette Canyon's original creations. Music is also lovely as an addition to this multi-media app, Read more …

tapStory by Owen Mathews

The app opens with a few easy set-ups. One of the most important is setting up a parent passcode to keep little fingers from accessing purchases or external links. Once the passcode is established, kids are free to tap and explore or parents can sit down with their kiddos and learn how to create together. The homescreen gives access to both of the free stories, "Pea and Carrot" and "Ten Birds" as well as seven stories available for purchase that range in price from $2.99 to $7.99. Users can also get straight to creating their own stories using characters and backgrounds from the stories that are included or purchased. The homescreen also has what they call an "apron" which is a menu Read more …

Bert E. Bird The Third And The Book Of Great Ideas by Gil Gur Arie

Bert E. Bird the Third and the Book of Great Ideas is a charming app from a new development studio, SoundBox Multimedia, headed up by Gil Gur Arie. This digital book is exceptional in many ways, crafting a fun story with well-tailored interactivity on every page. Play mini-games, tap characters and more in this nicely produced digital storybook for kids 6 and up.

The tale itself begins with a page that says, "The End". This is foreshadowing for a story that is just beginning and will eventually begin again. We meet the main character, Bert E. Bird (The Third) and discover that he has a bit of trouble while falling asleep because of all his fantastical ideas. The story goes on to share Read more …