Ben the Tractor and the lost sheep by ZigZag-Studio

This digital book has become a fast favorite of my preschooler. The interactivity enhances this simple story about counting. The book is about Tractor Ben. A fence has broken and the sheep have wandered off the farm. The child is asked to help Ben by tapping the sheep on each page. The sheep 'leap' into the trailer Ben is towing on page after page, until he has picked up 10 sheep in total.

At first Ben cannot see the hidden creatures, so the child's actions become central to the storytelling. There are 10 sheep and if the child doesn't tap on them all, farmer Johnny appears and says that Ben needs to go back. All the 'hidden' animals are easy to find for even a young child. On the last Read more …

Bizzy Bear on the Farm by Nosy Crow Limited

This original book from Nosy Crow is based on a series of print 'toddler' board books published in 2011 and features adorable illustrations by Benji Davies. Children will love assisting Bizzy as he helps out on the farm. Interactivity and character dialogue is driven by the reader, including lots of variety and room for open-ended exploration. In order for this cute cub to complete his chores, readers will need to help him by feeding the pigs, herding sheep, collecting eggs, picking apples and much more.

Although this app is no fairy tale, it does have many things in common with Nosy Crow's other two book apps (Cinderella & The Three Little Pigs). It is polished and solidly made, Read more …

Moo, Baa, La La La! - Sandra Boynton by Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

Moo, Baa, La, La, La is my favorite of the Boynton book apps (at least so far). These cute books are from Loud Crow, the same developer that made The Going to Bed Book and the PopOut series. In this cute title, you can tap the characters to hear authentic animal noises. That is, except for the three pigs on the second page, who sing, "La La La". The print book, published in 1982, was also a chart topper with over one hundred 5-Star reviews at Amazon.com.

This app has a similar style to the other Boynton book apps, with lots of touchable elements that bounce slightly like a true pop-up book (and come alive with the addition of snorts, quacks and oinks). There are also surprising touches Read more …

Nighty Night! HD - The bedtime story app for children by Fox and Sheep GmbH

Nighty Night! begins with, "Night falls. The moon is high. All the people are ready to sleep as they turn off the lights. But wait! Look at the farmhouse. There are still some lights on. The animals are sleepy, too. Do you want to turn off the lights?" A peaceful farm appears, where you can tap on any one of seven lit areas on the page. The next scene shows an animal still awake (with a light switch nearby). Tap the switch (each light & switch is different) and the animal settles into sleep, closing their eyes.

After all the animals have been put to bed, there is just one person still up - a little boy (and the reader). The last scene is of this little boy waving out his lit Read more …

Moo Said Morris by Digital Leaf Ltd.

The latest offering from Digital Leaf is a winner. Moo Said Morris opens to the home screen, where users have the choice of clicking on settings or starting the story. There are two other options for “Your Sounds” and “Record,” collectively called “Mootown Records,” that are not accessible until all 14 slices of cheese are found within the story. Settings allow users to reset the app to new purchase settings, which is nice for a home with multiple children or for kiddos who love the hunt and want to find all of the cheese again. This area also contains a help section, additional apps by Digital Leaf, books from Digital Leaf and credits.

The 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 …

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy by KIWA International Ltd

Hairy Maclary is a cute terrier mutt who stars in a series of popular books by New Zealand author, Lynley Dodd. This title is the first in the series, published in print in 1983. The story is told in rhyming verse and has a very simple plot, about Hairy Maclary and his doggie friends on a 'trot' around town. While the story is simple, the combination of expressive words, delightful illustrations and polished narration in this app edition, nears digital perfection.

Light animation makes the animals come to life, along with a tiny bit of interactivity in the form of sound effects, mostly barking. The enhancements are fun, but simple enough to make this a great bedtime title. The Read more …

Barnyard Mystery by Hamson Design Group Pty Ltd

Are you looking for a digital picture book that allows your child to 'choose their own adventure' with a story that is different every time you read? Or maybe one that includes your child's name, too? Well, look no further than this delightful new app that tells the story of a family visiting a farm. The family (which includes your child if you enter their name on the title page) is asked to help Farmer Bill find a cute baby chick that has gotten lost. The search takes them all over the farm, with each change in location prompting a decision by the reader.

I'm not sure how many different story combinations there are for this title, but it was a slightly different story every time I read it Read more …

Animal SnApp: Farm by Nosy Crow Limited

Nosy Crow's latest app is sure to please the toddler and preschool set (and their parents) with Animal SnAPP, an app that contains a mix and match book, with a series of six animal 'tops & bottoms' that slide together. Once each of these animals is connected to its 'other half', a short story begins, giving young readers a six-pack of readers all-in-one app.

Whether narrated in a delightful & crisp British accent, or in 'read myself' mode, there is plenty to play with in Animal SnAPP, including animations that are top-notch and additional dialogue in speech bubbles from several of the barnyard animals. The stories are sweet but very simple, making this an app I would recommend for 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 …

The Very Hungry Bear by We Are Wheelbarrow PTY LTD

This delightful storybook app is a sequel to Nick Bland's 2008 print title, The Very Cranky Bear, about a zebra, moose, lion and sheep who just want to find a nice, dry place to play cards on a rainy day. In this book, each animal once again tries to placate the angry (and hungry) bear in hopes of sharing his cave.

In the end, it is the humble sheep who has the most brilliant idea. The others try to ingratiate themselves into the bear's good graces but Sheep is generous in a way that gives of himself. Light interactivity and perfectly timed animated elements create a wonderful storytelling experience in digital.

Highly recommended!

This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our Read more …

The Very Cranky Bear by We Are Wheelbarrow PTY LTD

"In the Jingle Jangle Jungle on a cold and rainy day, four little friends found a perfect place to play," begins this delightful animated tale. Based on Nick Bland's 2008 print title about a zebra, moose, lion and sheep who just want to find a nice, dry place to play cards on a rainy day.

Each animal tries to placate the angry bear in hopes of sharing his cave. But they assume the bear would want what they want (a beautiful mane like the lion, great antlers like the moose or stripes like the zebra). In the end, it is the humble sheep who has the most brilliant idea and generous sacrifice to make, on behalf of the bear's true comfort.

Light interactivity and perfectly timed animated elements Read more …

Will & Kate by Ink Robin, Inc

New Update: Just in time for the royal baby, Ink Robin has updated their beautiful book app to extend the 'happily ever after' for the royal couple. Beautifully done and now a universal app. Read our original review from April 25, 2011:

"Once upon a time in a delightful country called England, there lived a young prince," begins Will & Kate: A Love Story, by Ink Robin. This is a truly modern fairy tale that takes full advantage of a modern medium. It is nicely interactive, narrated and lightly animated in a way that captures the sweet story of the royal "it" couple perfectly.

The illustrator's style, with several scenes of paper cut-outs on a photo-background, is especially Read more …

Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime by ustwo

This incredibly unique app book is one of many that focuses on nursery rhymes. The team that developed this book has really gone the extra mile, though, making Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime one of the most interactive and 'touchable' apps I've ever reviewed. It's nearly impossible to keep your hands off this app, even for adults. Now with added narration & two more nursery rhymes, this digital storybook is nearly perfect.

The developers, ustwo & Atomic Antelope, have been very responsive to customer requests and suggestions and have several updates planned. They seem to have a great team that creates not only beautiful production values but also implements changes more quickly than Read more …

Prancing Dancing Lily by Fat Red Couch, Inc.

Prancing, Dancing Lily is a universal book app and is based on a print book of the same name, written by Marsha Diane Arnold and illustrated by John Manders. Marsha is the award-winning author of eleven children’s picture books. Prancing, Dancing Lily is inspired by Marsha’s own childhood as she grew up on a farm with Ayrshire cows like Lily. The app also includes a puzzle section, and a scene selector that allows you to easily re-visit favorite pages. It contains no adverts or in-app purchases.

The story starts with an orderly herd of cows marching in for milking time, all except for Lily that is. Lily instead dances and prances about the pasture – Read more …

The Lonely Beast 123 by James Kelleher

Based on Chris Judge's popular print title, The Lonely Beast, this book app is simple but beautiful and filled with unique interactive elements that will surprise and delight young fingers. In the print title, republished in 2011, a cute 'beast' travels far and wide to find friends so he won't be lonely anymore. Simple illustrations in silhouette and crisp clear text make the original print book and this new app well suited to toddlers and preschoolers.

There are many counting apps and books in the digital market, but this one is especially well-designed artistically, with a different approach to the interactive scene on each of the pages, featuring the numbers 1-12. Children will love the Read more …

Axel Scheffler's Flip Flap Farm by Nosy Crow Limited

Nosy Crow has done it again with Flip Flap Farm, a companion app to the print book of the same name. Featuring the delightful illustrations of Axel Scheffler, this well-crafted app is sure to please the toddler and preschool set (and their parents). Featuring the tops and bottoms of eleven animals that mix and match, including: dog, mouse, pig, rabbit, goat, squirrel, turkey, sheep, horse, cow, and chicken. This creates a total of 121 possible combinations, along with well-crafted, rhyming text (and an unending stream of giggles).

Young readers will love the whimsy of this app, with creatures like the "Mig" (mouse top, pig bottom) and "Cheep" (chicken top, sheep bottom). A 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 …

Astrid & Siri by Arctic Star LLC

This is an adorable book app starring a girl named Astrid and her little friend Siri, an Artic fox. Astrid has a strand of magical purple thread and a talent for making clothing for the animals of the forest. Her designs are imaginative and include a series of outfits for the sheep, made from their own wool. She calls her designs the "Arctic Fairytale" collection, made for her Midsummer's Eve soiree.

This is one of those very interactive books that is a lot of fun for kids but may not necessarily enhance story comprehension. There are lots of cool 'magical' effects, like dragging a little needle & thread over many of the images, revealing the handmade costumes. The animals are also Read more …

Trouble at Trio Farm by 123 Number Fun Pty Ltd

Trio Farm is part of a series of app books by Jane Hague. This Australian series is set in a town with many interesting characters - all numbered. For instance there is Tilly Two and Policeman Ernie Eight. The main character of this story is Freda Three who needs the villagers to help figure out who has ransacked her store. Featuring great illustrations and storylines that are delightfully paced for young readers, this is one series of book apps that is perfect for 4-8 year olds.

As a digital book, this title is well made with easy swipe page turning or the alternative of auto-play. The text highlights as it is narrated in a crisp Australian accent. There are several small interactive Read more …

The Lettermen on the Farm by SN Squared Limited

This fun digital storybook under the category "Education" is interactive in a way that not only makes reading fun, but reinforces spelling, reading and sight words. The 'lettermen' themselves are simple but engaging cartoon letters with hands and feet. They are very appealing to kids and have great expressions that match the words they are forming on each page.

This tale has the 'lettermen' visiting a farm for the day. The narration, a British English speaker, is crisp and clear. The Lettermen was a series of books created in the late 1980's by Roger Knights. This book was published in print in 1993. According to the information page in the book, "It was never intended to be an Read more …

Handmade Mother Goose HD with EveryPage by Charles Kriel

Handmade Mother Goose is an app that has a wonderful look and feel. Every page has interactive elements that animate 12 different familiar Mother Goose nursery rhymes. Hickory Dickory Dock has moveable clock hands and a squeaking mouse that bounces with realistic physics. And my favorite, Mary Mary quite contrary has a watering can you touch to shower her flowers with water.

This book is one of those that feels simultaneously like an old-fashioned book while adding the 'wow' factor that only the iPad can bestow. The pages are handcrafted with a layered look that has paper, felt and wood elements. There are also high quality sounds, including music and the talented narration of Charles Read more …

Tractor Mac, You're A Winner HD by PicPocket Books

Tractor Mac is a charismatic red tractor with headlight eyes.  In "You're a Winner", based on the print book published by Billy Steers in 2007, Tractor Mac and Farmer Bill are getting ready for the county fair and a big tractor pull.  The illustrations and artwork are a perfect fit for this story about being a good sport when you don't win and instead 'winning' by being helpful.  In this story, the carousel breaks down, so even though Mac is disappointed when he loses the tractor pull, he gets to feel useful by using his motor to get the carousel turning again.  All the children are very happy and Mac realizes there are more ways to be a winner than just winning a Read more …

Tractor Mac Arrives by PicPocket Books

This Tractor Mac book is the first in the series, originally published in print form in 2007.  This book tells the story of just how Mac came to live on the farm with Farmer Bill.  At first Sibley the work-horse thinks there is no use for him anymore, but then Tractor Mac needs help to get un-stuck.  Both realize the value of each other's contribution to the farm work and become best friends.  All of the Tractor Mac books have this wonderful message for kids ... a message that encourages them to work hard, work together and help others as way to feel good about yourself.  It's the kind of book series that teaches kids values through the time-honored method of good Read more …

Tractor Mac Builds HD by PicPocket Books

Tractor Mac is a charismatic red tractor with headlight eyes.  He and his friend Lucy (a cute green tractor who's gender is distinguished from Mac only by her adorable little eyelashes), help with an old fashioned barn-raising in this charming book.  The illustrations and artwork are a perfect fit for this story about working together and sticking to the job, even when you don't want to.  He converses with the farm animals around him as he works hard milling wood.  They tease him for being stuck, but he sticks with it and then finds out he's been making planks for a new barn.  All the neighboring townsfolk come to help with the building and Tractor Mac realizes he's Read more …

PASS IT ON! by CJ EDUCATIONS CORPORATION

On an idyllic farm where a bee and cow are friends, a message needs to be delivered. Colorful and lightly animated, this app shares a story that starts with little Bee telling Frog that Cow needs help. "Cow is stuck in the fence. PASS IT ON!" begins the message, but by the time it arrives on the other side of the farm, the reason all the animals come running has been 'lost in translation'.

With polished production values and nice settings for a variety of storytime uses, this app will appeal to children aged 3-6. A simple game (oddly named 'telephone' only because it uses images or drawing instead of speaking to pass 'messages'), uses limited pre-selected phrases alongside digital stickers Read more …

The Harvest Festival, Stories from Number Town by 123 Number Fun Pty Ltd

The Harvest Festival is part of a series of app books by Jane Hague. This Australian series is set in a town with many interesting characters - all numbered. For instance there is Tilly Two and Policeman Ernie Eight. The main character of this story is Nun Nine who is gathering items from each of the people in town, like 3 cartons of eggs from Freda Three the Farmer and 5 jars of honey from Mr. Hive Five.

As a digital book, this title is well made with easy swipe page turning or the alternative of auto-play. The text highlights as it is narrated in a crisp Australian accent. There are several small interactive sound effects to go along with the otherwise still images, like the sound of bees Read more …

Old Macdonald Had a Farm Full by Bacciz by Bacciz,LLC

Old MacDonald keeps many animals, eleven in all (see synopsis for full list), in this sing-along story featuring the popular children's tune in verse. This musical app is full of interactivity that will surprise and delight youngsters. You may have "E-I-E-I-O" stuck in your head after playing, but your little ones will be all smiles.

The tune, like many children's songs, may grate on the ears of adults with the many re-playings young children adore, but it is catchy. Animations are simple, but polished movements of the images, adding a fun touch, but the real highlight of this app is the interactivity. Young readers can tap an egg to see a chick hatch, splash mud on the pigs, and even swipe Read more …

B&E: Water by BNE MEDIA PTY LTD

B& E: Water is a quaint universal storybook featuring two sisters B & E. The story takes us through the actions that B must take in order to wake her sister up which involve lots of noise, playing inside including coloring, playing outside in the mud puddles and finally a bath and evening downtime.  A bit about the company, B&E Media is based in Australia and was founded by two sisters who began creating children’s storybook apps using original stories with animations. The animations in the app were unexpected and happened every three to four pages and really helped bring the previous pages to life. The app features narration, word highlighting, simple Read more …

Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep - interactive rhyming story book app for kids by Well Said Limited Apps

I have spent countless hours over the past 20 years reading stories with preschoolers, first as hardbound books, and now as digital apps. Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep has all the elements I look for in a story, including non-threatening characters, simple illustrations, easy to follow action, and a positive ending. This is a new app whose first line sets the stage beautifully: “Ferdinand Fox curled up in the sun, as the church of St. Mary struck quarter past one.” It provides both parents and children an opportunity to talk about nature and being curious and how to enjoy experiences as they come our way.

Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep is written and Read more …

Big Red Barn by Dipali Vaidya

This is a simple but engaging book for very young children. It has cheery, colorful images of a farm, farmer, barn and lots of animals. Each page begins with a number and corresponding group of animals, from 1 dog barking all the way up to 10 geese honking. For interactivity, tap any number to hear it read aloud.

The child can also tap on a little image of each animal featured to hear sound effects that match the noise described (i.e. barking, honking, ...). This makes the book fun for kids, although a bit noisy. My son enjoyed this book so much he wanted to read it over and over. Adults may find the repetitive story & noises less charming, but the book is perfect developmentally for Read more …

Myro Arrives in Australia - Animated storybook 1 by NickRose Ltd

Myro Arrives in Australia by NickRose Ltd is a lovely storybook book app for your kids. Meet Myro, the the Smallest Plane in the World, in his new home in Australia and follow him on his first flying adventure in the endless skies of the Australian Bush!

Fun Educational Apps Short Review

Myro Arrivs in Australia is the first book in the series of six adventures about Myro, the smallest plane in the world. It is a well designed storybook app that will delight your little ones. The app offers 32 pages with animations and interactive features and various reading modes - Read to me with top narration by Christopher Biggins and other great actors; read myself or if you prefer, record 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 …


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