Daisy Chain by Protein One Pty Ltd

From developer Protein comes a powerful anti-bullying storybook about a little girl named Buttercup Bree. She is a lonely girl, picking daisies in a forest with beautiful piano music in the background in the first scene. Soon we learn that little Miss Bree is hoping to meet other children on the playground in this desolate environment, so she decorates with her daisy chains. But bullies soon appear ...

Reading options include Read & Play. Read mode provides only Kate Winslet's lovely narration, meant to allow owners of the physical book to have a read-aloud option. In Play mode children must complete the actions or interactions with the screen before a page turn arrow appears. Hints are Read more …

Four little corners by DADA Company Edutainment S.L.

Four Little Corners, by DADA Company, is a simple storybook app with a sophisticated message - fitting in with your peers can be as difficult as fitting a square peg through a round hole. Wow! Four Little Corners is digital masterpiece, based on the original book by Jérôme Ruillier, whose message is a timeless classic.

We LOVE this unassuming yet profound story/app; it is a delightfully darling little tale that has such a powerful message! Four Little Corners reinforces integral values such as friendship, integration, equality participation, comradeship, and social justice. The message that it is just fine to be different comes through loud and Read more …

Middle School Confidential 2: Real Friends vs. the Other Kind by Electric Eggplant

The next title in the Middle School Confidential series is finally available for the iPad. This remarkable series is a must read for tweens & teens and a 'must download' for parents, educators and other concerned adults who want the young people in their lives to manage the typical struggles of adolescence just a little bit better. This series is really unique, offering something rare in the App Store; it's polished and well-crafted to the adult eye, but more importantly, teens will relate and enjoy the graphic novel format.

Many of my fans may not realize I am new to the world of children's literature, but if I am an expert in anything, it is actually teens. I spent the past two Read more …

Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are by Electric Eggplant

I don't review a lot of books for older readers, but this graphic novel release of the 1st book in the Middle School Confidential series is really a stunning offering in the App Store. It isn't narrated, but even younger kids will enjoy having the stories read to them. I think many elementary age children will relate to the topics, like self-consciousness, bullying, stress, fitting in, sticky issues in friendships and learning to like yourself.

The book is developmentally perfect for tweens & teens, but the content was even appropriate for my preschooler (although some of the concepts were over his head). It is even an entertaining read & nice refresher for adults, since these Read more …

Cool to be Clever: Edson Hendricks by Trelawny Consulting Group Ltd.

Based on the print title, published in 2011, this book app is an inspirational read for kids ages 8 and up. It is absolutely packed with top notch educational content, presented in an intuitive app that is polished and engaging. Text can be read or listened to, although the reading level is roughly for ages 8-12+. The print title retails for nearly $20, so this app is also an exceptional value. Older readers, including adults, will enjoy the history, science and inspirational messages found in this digital book. 

The structure of this app is fun to explore, with sections that include videos, music and narrated segments about topics like bulling, how the Internet was invented Read more …

Auryn – Van Gogh and the Sunflowers by Auryn, Inc

Van Gogh and the Sunflowers is an extraordinary app with unique interactivity. The characters in this book, based on a gorgeous print title published in 2007, are all in motion. Characters in the story run, work and paint in scenes that can also be viewed (just tap the settings button) with their inner-workings exposed. You can see the mechanism behind the motion in a way that is very similar to Three Little Pigs and the Secrets of a Popup Book - a very cool effect.

The book is about a boy named Camille who lives in a village where sunflowers grow wild. One day a strange man arrives in town and begins to paint. Camille's family befriends the poor traveler, Vincent van Read more …

Elmer's Special Day by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Elmer's Special Day is about an elephant that has a multi-colored patchwork instead of the usual grey. This book, one in a series of print books that first began in 1989, is a delightful title that explores the sense of community that can be created by celebrating together and embracing differences. This book was published in print in 2009 and features illustrations that are drenched in rich colors.

The story follows Elmer as he prepares with the other elephants for an annual parade in the jungle. The other animals complain about the noise and mess as all the elephants decorate themselves to be more colorful (only Elmer becomes 'elephant colored' on this special day). Elmer wisely Read more …

Be a Buddy, Not a Bully -- A Tales of Midlandia Storybook by National Network of Digital Schools Corp

Be a Buddy, Not a Bully written by Michael Scotto and developed by Midlandia Press is the third iPad book app in the “Tales of Midlandia” series. Just on time for back to school, it is a fantastic book that raises the sensitive issue about bullying via a great story about friendship, fairness and sharing with stunning illustrations, top audio and great interactive features ... Another Fun Educational Top Pick!

Be a Buddy, Not a Bully is the third in the Tales of Midlandia series. It is about sweet Harvest the farmer who has a problem with Buck the banker. Buck is a mean little guy who is digging Harvest’s corn field Read more …

The Mighty League Vol 1 - The Terrible Taunting - A Blackfish Children's Book by Customizabooks LLC

The Mighty League Vol. 1 — The Terrible Taunting is a great introduction to the way an individual with Asperger's Syndrome looks at the world. Its lesson about the need to stop bullying is so important and much-needed, and I am really glad Jonathan and Molly Murphy, with the help of their parents, used this interactive book app to raise awareness and teach great life lessons.  

The story follows JMan through an adventure at school.  As you move through the story, the words become red as they are spoken by the narrator, the real JMan.  I love this because it makes it easy for kids to follow along with the words.  There is only a limited Read more …

BigLittleBrother by Minnesota Historical Society Press

Published simultaneously in print this fall by the Minnesota Historical Society, this is a remarkable title that has all the charm of a traditional print picture book with just the right enhancement to make a stellar digital storybook. A little boy tells the story in the first person, explaining that he wanted a little brother, but hadn't expected him to grow to be as big (or even bigger) than himself so quickly. But when his 'big little brother' scares off a bully at the daycare, this big brother feels much more tolerant of his little brother's shenanigans.

Big Little Brother is one of those book apps that stands out for a combination of endearing illustrations, well-crafted storytelling Read more …

Brave Rooney by Bacciz,LLC

Brave Rooney is an ordinary boy in an extraordinary situation. He goes to school in Magesticville, a place where everyone is a super-hero. But Rooney lives on the border with Normalville and is decidely not super at anything. The school even has to hire a school nurse for the first time, just for Rooney. No one had ever gotten sick before he attended. But despite his struggles to fit in, Rooney turns out to have one thing the other 'super' kids do not, making him a hero of sorts for a unique kind of bravery.

Featuring cute cartoon drawings and a storyline kids will love, this book app hits just the right balance between story and enhancements. It has light animations that highlight fun Read more …

Leo the Lightning Bug by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

This is a charming story about a little lightning bug who is having a hard time finding his light. He is very frustrated, like any child wanting to do something grown up. His mother encourages Leo to be patient and feel good about himself, but he still struggles. No matter what he does, he just can't seem to light up. But despite teasing & feeling discouraged, the little bug keeps practicing, becoming triumphant one night during a thunder storm. In the end Leo discovers he has a bright, beautiful light (and that he is very brave).

This book was published in print in 2001 and has over a dozen 5 star reviews on Amazon.com that glow about the heart-warming story by Eric Drachman. It is Read more …

Ellison The Elephant by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

"He was a young and little elephant, but not a baby elephant," begins this inspirational picture book, now available in digital from Oceanhouse Media. Based on the popular 2005 print title by Eric Drachman, Ellison the Elephant is the kind of storybook that has all the trappings of an instant classic. It's about an elephant named Ellison, who is having trouble finding his trumpet song. All he can manage is a little 'toot'.

Of course, not only does little Ellison find his voice, but he also discovers that he is actually special, not 'less than' the other elephants. This is the real genius of Drachman stories, like Leo the Lightning Bug & A Frog Thing; they emphasize the ways in Read more …

Mabel's New Home by Two Big Dads

This book is the first in a series called Mabel's Fables. It is about a little chicken named Mabel who is on her way to a new farm to live. This farm already has an established henhouse with it's own 'pecking order'. When Mabel arrives, all the other chickens take notice.

This is an anxious experience for Mabel, until she is befriended by another chicken, named Frekle. By the end of the story, Mabel has settled into her new home with Frekle's help. My son really enjoyed this sweet tale about adjusting to a new environment, dealing with bullies and making friends. The illustrations appear to be sketched by hand with colored pencils and fit the story nicely. The text feels a little large Read more …

Elmer and Rose by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

In this title, Elmer is joined by several other 'unique' elephants, including Rose, an elephant who is pink from blushing, instead of the usual grey. This book, one in a series of print books that first began in 1989, is a delightful title in the Elmer series, about a patchwork elephant. This book was published in print in 2005 & features illustrations that are drenched in rich colors.

The story follows Elmer as he tries to find the shy pink elephant after she has wandered away from the herd. Along with his checker-board-colored cousin, Elmer helps little rose find her family. Along the way they meet a grey elephant from another herd and Rose remarks that he looks 'strange'. When Read more …

Professor Garfield Forms of Media by Paws Incorporated

The Professor Garfield apps from Infinite Learning Lab, a popular non-profit foundation with a great website for kids content, is one of those free series that came out early in the launch of the iPad. I don't know how I managed to miss this exceptional set of titles. Recently, my 6 year old became a rather fluent reader and has been obsessed with the Garfield cartoon books from our local library.

So I decided to just search the app store for other "Garfield" content in the hopes of treating my 6-year old to something fun on Christmas morning. When I discovered the four-app series from Paws Inc. under the education category, and free, I was truly stunned. These four totally FREE apps Read more …

Sneaky Sam by Sneaky Sam Productions Pty Ltd
This is an exceptionally well produced and polished app about a little boy named Sam who is 'sneaky'. Light animation and delightful sound effects, plus interactivity that elicits giggles & smiles from readers of all ages, make this an experience that is nearly perfect in digital. Created by new developer, Sneaky Sam Productions, this is an app that is sure to amuse kids aged six and up.
 
The story centers on Sam, a little boy about age 4-6+, as he plays pranks and does 'mischievous' things that make him laugh but other people, including his friends and family, look sad. He scares one friend and gets another in trouble with the teacher, he then sprays the famiy pet with water Read more …
Hiku by Top That! Publishing

Hiku is a truly adorable little penguin who stars on every page of this book with his cute 'heart-shaped' tummy. The interactivity in this book is fun for kids, since it involves trying to find Hiku among the other similar looking penguins. If the child taps on the wrong part of the page, they hear variations on "colder - warmer" as they get closer to Hiku and "Alright!" or "There's Hiku!" or "That's Terrific!" when they tap on Hiku correctly.

The only gripe I have with this otherwise delightful way of engaging my child with the story is that touching the page during the audio narration causes it to stop abruptly, which is annoying, to say the least. So, it's best to either let the Read more …

Extraordinary Jenny Jones by Paperplane Pilots Pte Ltd

When my daughter was very little, she tried to understand her place in a world dominated by a capable, confident big sister. Repeatedly, she wondered, “What’s special about me?” Children want to know what makes them special, and when they find out, they tend to be happier and more content. Extraordinary Jenny Jones is a great story app to enjoy with a child age 3-10 who wants to discover what being unique is all about.

Extraordinary Jenny Jones by Paperplane, is designed specifically for the iPad (version 2 or later).  It has the features we have come to expect in high quality storybook apps, namely a Read to Me option with a professional narrator, interesting and 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 …

Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

This is another 'Five Monkeys' book from the beloved book series by Eileen Christelow. Like Five Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, this is an adorably illustrated ebook based on a print title published in 2000. When I checked the Amazon.com reviews for the print version I discovered dozens of 5 star reviews - the series is just that good. In digital form, these books are transformed with sound, interactivity and text that highlights as it is read.

In this story, the monkeys are on a picnic with Mama and while she naps, they all climb into a tree and begin taunting a crocodile. One by one, they appear to fall into the river and get eaten with a 'SNAP!' This could be disturbing to both Read more …

Longlegs and the Pirate With No-Nose by Terra dei Colori - S. C. Sociale a R.L.

Longlegs and the Pirate with No-Nose by developer Terra dei Colori Edizioni, is a storybook app developed for older children featuring a terrible pirate and a monster who wants to right his wrongs.  The story of Rakam, nicknamed No-Nose, comes alive in this interactive app.

Longlegs and the Pirate with No-Nose is a lengthy interactive storybook app appropriate for older children.  It tells the story of Rakam, nicknamed No-Nose, who kidnaps a baby from a princess.  He decides to feed the baby to the alligators that he raises on his magical island called Calabi-Yau.  After being saved by the first mate, the baby's story is spread far and wide by the animals of Read more …

Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose makes a great transition from print to digital, with top-notch features from Oceanhouse Media. Enhancements are primarily educational and focused on word recognition. Great narration with highlighting word-by-word reinforces the text and if a child taps on any word, they can hear it spoken again. If you tap on an image in the illustrations, the word will appear with accompanying audio. And as a bonus, if that image is present in the text of the story, the word will highlight again, too.

Most Dr. Seuss OmBooks also aren't animated, but many pages begin by panning over Seuss' classic original artwork, zooming in and out to show off each chunk of text in a Read more …

The Berenstain Bears Computer Trouble by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

There have been hundreds of Berenstain Bears stories published since the first one debuted 1962. Computer Trouble is one of HarperCollins square paperback series, first published in print in 2010. According to Wikipedia:

"The books feature a family of anthropomorphic grizzly bears who generally learn a moral or safety-related lesson in the course of each story. Since the 1962 debut of the first Berenstain Bears book, The Big Honey Hunt, the series has grown to over 300 titles, which have sold approximately 260 million copies in 23 languages."

This formula, sometimes criticized for being too moralistically simplistic, has been a fast Read more …


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