So Many Stars – Andy Warhol by Bugaboo International B.V.

This extraordinary picture book app is based on the board book by the same name, published in print in 2013. So Many Stars is a whimsical and nearly wordless celebration of the artistic vision of Andy Warhol. According to the developers, the "So" series of illustrations created by Warhol was intended to:

" ... explore the concept of ‘So,’ including You Are So Big, You Are So Small, So Sweet, and I Love You So. Filled with sweet phrases that will enthrall parents and children alike, Warhol’s So Many Stars is a terrific introduction to an iconic modern artist. These illustrations are bundled in a unique ‘So’ book for children."

Featuring beautifully timed Read more …

Love, The App by Pablo Curti

There are very few apps that come across my tablet these days that 'wow' me on any level. Love, the app is simply the most exceptional app I have seen in 2014 and would be in my "all time" top 10 for the BEST offerings for children AND adults in the digital app market since its inception five years ago. It embodies every element of a good story, irregardless of format. It is moving, thoughtfully constructed and experienced on an almost visceral level when delivered in the beautiful digital "app" package from Niño Studio.

"Once upon a time ... there was a little girl," begins this heart-wrenching and (in the end) uplifting storybook. Her parents "went away" when Read more …

The Artist Mortimer by OC Graphics

The Artist Who Stole Bits of The World is an original storybook app with text and artwork by Bo Zaunders. It was created with OCG Studios "Develop Your Own (DYO)" book app creation tool. It is a charming story about an artist who has a unique ability to capture whatever he paints permanently on his canvas. If he paints the ocean, he carries away all the water when he takes his masterpiece home, for instance. Soon everyone insists he stop painting until Mortimer finds a unique solution that will enchant readers age 4 and up.

This app is lightly animated and interactive, with nice hints for many of the touch-points. It has ample settings to adjust the music, sound effects and narration, which 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 …

Fierce Grey Mouse HD by Tizio BV

Prepare yourself for one very cute mouse story. This book opens with a little grey mouse removing the word 'little' to put the word 'fierce' in its place for the title page. The letters are like cut-outs from magazine copy, giving the book a whimsical quality. The illustrations are hand-drawn and color-drenched, creating the perfect backdrop to the story. Every page is also filled with small but delightful animated elements triggered by tapping on the characters.

Little grey mouse wants to be fierce. So he lifts weights, practices pouncing and perfects his roar. Then he hides in a tree to wait for someone to scare. His good friends come by first, calling for their little mouse friend to Read more …

The Little Mermaid - Auryn by Auryn Inc.

This digital book version of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson is based on the well-crafted translation by Anthea Bell with the breath-taking and ethereal illustrations of Lisbeth Zwerger. Anderson originally wrote the tale as a ballet in 1837. This picture book version was published in 1984 to rave reviews. It follows the original tale very closely, with no happy ending. The storytelling makes up for any disappointment, though.

This digital presentation takes an otherwise gorgeous print book and brings it to life. The story is told both underwater and above on land, with pages of the former that look and feel like they are actually submerged in the sea. The effect is Read more …

A Fine Musician by The Trustee for the Tokeru Trust

"On a very fine day, ratta tat ratta tat. With his drum and his hat, ratta tat ratta tat. He came into town and he walked down the street as he drummed out a beat ratta tat ratta tat," begins this enchanting musical storybook for the iPad. It captures the romance of a walled European city in its sepia pages with tidy narrow streets, people milling about, bicyclists and street vendors. Yet the whole book feels modern in its own way. If you tap the menu bar below any page, you can even see the whole book laid out, page against page.  Look closely and you will see that it connects into a complete picture of the musician's walk through this lively little village.

This is not just a book Read more …

Mr. Sandman by hocusbookus

Not many books get five star reviews on this site, let alone five stars in four or more of our nine categories, but this standout title from Hocus Books does this and so much more! Featuring a charming story alongside beautifully crafted animation and unique interactive elements, Mr. Sandman is our favorite book app (so far) for 2013.

The story begins with a young boy and his mother at bedtime. The child says he is afraid of the dark. "Don't worry my darling, I will wind up your music box and leave your light on. The Sandman will be here soon." Tap the music box to hear a 'winding' sound effect and then a lovely tune that launches a touching tale that is told as much in text as Read more …

Roxie's Doors by oc graphics

Based on Doors, a popular lift-the-flap print book, Roxie's Doors makes the digital transition so beautifully, it's hard to believe it wasn't originally designed for the iPad. There are over "50 flaps to lift & explore", bringing new discoveries on every page. The illustrations are delightful and so detailed that you notice something new with every re-reading.

The talented author/illustrator Roxie Munro brought the print book to children in 2004. I was not surprised to find all 5-Star reviews on Amazon.com for it, too. As a digital title, the book is lightly enhanced with animation, but the interactivity is the real star of this show! There are fun things to discover under Read more …

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by Moonbot Studios LA, LLC

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore was a short animated film released to critical acclaim in 2010. The gorgeous film comes to life in this digital book app in a way that might even top the film's reception. It's just that amazing, giving the reader an immersive experience that makes other book apps with 'Wow' factor pale by comparison. Developers should be warned that the team at Moonbot Studios has just raised the bar.

The story follows the adventures of Mr. Morris Lessmore, a rather sad little fellow who experiences great tragedy before re-discovering the magical world of books. Every page of his adventure is imminently touchable, even the storm that carries his grayscale Read more …

Midnight Feast by Dan Hare

Midnight Feast is another exquisite tale from the creators of The Artifacts. Complex and hauntingly beautiful, the story follows the night-time imagination of a young teen who longs to stay up past her bedtime for what she pictures is a vast banquet. Gorgeous illustrations and beautifully paced interactive dialog create an immersive reading experience for readers ages nine and up. Polished production values, thoughtful settings and the inclusion of close reading notes round out this stellar new title.

Tapping is not so much for exploring randomly in this app but an extension of the reading experience. Your fingers absorb part of the story by unlocking it, deepening your understanding of the Read more …

The Strange & Wonderful World of Ants by Amos Latteier

5-Star Re-Review [Originally published January 13, 2011] The Strange & Wonderful World of Ants is one of very few titles given 5 stars on this site. And that was before this substantial update. The book is now truly phenomenal for an educational ebook. It is, in my opinion, one of the best examples for developers who would like to create innovative non-fiction ebook apps.

This update includes narration for the easiest reading level, making this a title that is versatile enough for even young pre-readers while still being engaging for older readers and even adults. Unless you are an entomologist, you will likely learn something new about ants while reading this book. The Read more …

The Artifacts by Dan Hare

"Once there was a boy who loved to collect," begins this unique digital book. Asaf is an enigma to his family, amassing so many objects that it borders on hoarding. When the family prepares to move to a new house, his parents get rid of everything Asaf has collected, everything he loves. This begins a new chapter for the young man, one of collecting dreams, ideas and knowledge.

When the family arrives in their new home, Asaf's mother & father tell him, "This is your new bedroom. Keep it tidy." This act of parental misunderstanding and betrayal is experienced by Asaf in scenes that perfectly convey the darkness and rebellion of adolescence ... with handwritten words appearing Read more …

Astrojammies by Demibooks Inc.

Astrojammies is well-requested at bedtime by my little astronaut, so maybe yours will like it too? Traveling along with Jimmy, the little boy in star-covered jammies, is a real treat in this imaginative book. Shake the iPad on the first page and Jimmy's jammies shimmer with stars (lock the screen orientation first, though).

As the book continues, the reader can interact by spinning Jimmy, flicking him around the universe, making him dodge comets, tapping on a rocket that takes off, touching a planet that oozes or revealing a space baboon's face on a planet. But by far my favorite page is the one where several planets hover calmly ... until you touch them or move the iPad, then they Read more …

Who Stole The Moon? - Interactive e-book for children by Windy Press International Publishing House, LLC

Bertie is a little boy who loves staring at the moon and stars through a large window in the ceiling of his bedroom ... until one day the moon goes missing. In this enchanting and beautifully illustrated storybook app, readers will find out how Bertie solves this mystery, with the help of some nocturnal friends. Based on a 2010 print title, this app features over a dozen options for translation, perfect for foreign language learners. Who Stole the Moon? is also a 'must-download' title for lovers of bedtime book apps in particular.

Ingenious interactive elements include story-related gems as well as lots of unique features, like pages that scroll up and down, alongside more linear arrow page Read more …

Up & Down by Mr. Garamond S.L.

This beautifully illustrated app by Mr. Garamond shows a split screen with images from 'a day in the life' of two children, one in a western setting and the other in an eastern, desert environment. Profits from downloading this application go to Bubisher, a travelling Bus of Books for the children living in Western Saharan refugee camps. The app is available in Spanish, English, French & Arabic, but unlike most multilingual apps, this one lets you select the language for the narration and text separately, meaning you can listen in English with text in Arabic, for instance. This feature makes for a very unique and educational storybook.

The book can be read with or without a game that Read more …

Auryn HD - Teddy's Day by Auryn, Inc

This book is a favorite in our house! It is a story about a little girl that wants to find out if her teddy bear is actually coming alive and doing things when she's asleep or at school. So she hides watching him, page by page, saying "I'm gonna catch you" until eventually she finds him with honey on his lips at the end of the book.

This is a very cute story appropriate for the youngest of kids and yet touching in a way parents will enjoy, too. The narration is a little girl's voice, but still clear and easy to listen to. Each page highlights some of the interactive elements, which include animations, music and many extras like a puzzle and even a coloring page that let's you post your Read more …

The Three Little Pigs-Nosy Crow animated storybook by Nosy Crow Limited

There are lot of choices in the app store for lovers of the three little pigs, but very few stand out. This version, the first book app by Nosy Crow, is one of the very best! It is interactive in unique and fun ways that make the story feel more 'alive' than any other ebook I've read with my child. They even take advantage of the iPad's microphone, using it to pick up the sound from 'blowing' at the screen - which then triggers the wolf's classic "huff & puff" action. 

The reader gets to help the pigs build their three little houses, too. Flick each pig to get them to toss a bundle of building materials (straw, wood or bricks) at the incomplete structure until it is built. And Read more …

Cinderella – Nosy Crow animated picture book by Nosy Crow Limited

The much awaited second book from Nosy Crow is here and fans of their first book app, The Three Little Pigs, will not be disappointed. Cinderella captivates readers of all ages and brings even more interactivity to the classic tale of a girl, her fairy godmother & a mysterious glass slipper. You can help Cinderella tidy the house, dress the mean step-sisters for the ball, and even pick the pumpkin to be turned into a carriage.

Like their previous app, Nosy Crow has not forgotten a single detail in this delightful title, featuring adorable child actors for the voices of all the characters. You can scroll to see more of each page, with fun activities that include hunting for a cute little 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 …

Teddy's Night by Auryn Inc.

Teddy's Night was an instant hit in our house, just as we loved "Teddy's Day".  The interactivity & animation is also well-integrated into the storyline and varied enough to entertain a child for a very long time.  There are so many totally original things to discover in this book, like blocks that you can knock over, a tub you can fill (touch and hold on the faucet), pop-able bubbles you can create by tapping a soap bottle, lights that turn on (or off) and even a memory game in the bathtubs tiles!  There's also a great potty scene with teddy on his own little potty chair next to the little girl.  Tap on either the girl or teddy for some authentic sounding bodily Read more …

Flip: Interactive Storybook by Grids Interactive, LLC

When I first opened this book app, I thought to myself, "Move over Morris Lessmore, there's a new girl in town." Flip, by Grids Interactive, is just that innovative and refreshing, presenting a story that is slight in plot but heavy in spirit. Little Emma emerges in a dreary world where her narrative is not to her liking. So instead she rips a hot air balloon right from the page and flies away.

Breathtaking computer graphics in full 3D spring to life in every one of this title's very short seven scenes. The effects are simply awe inspiring, whetting the readers appetite for a big adventure. The only disappointment is that we get just the beginning of Emma's story, leaving the reader with Read more …

Get There by CSIO - SOCIETA' DI INFORMATICA E ORGANIZZAZIONE S.R.L.

Bobo is a young boy peering into the night sky at the moon. He loves her and wants to find a way up there to tell her so. With light animation and creative interactivity, this storybook brings a delightful story to life in your child's hands. It also features great narration and relaxing background music that makes this a bedtime treat for little ones.

Each page has great plot-related interactivity, like dragging Bobo's arms upward (see them stretch), shaking the iPad to tilt the moon, or moving Bobo up a rope to climb. There are some slightly animated elements to go with the interactions, but nothing too stimulating or distracting to the storyline.

The book is also solidly made with nice 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 …

Finn's Paper Hat HD by Tizio BV

Finn's Paper hat is a charming, original storybook app about a little boy and his newspaper hat. Little Finn has a wild imagination, taking the reader on a trip sailing the seas. Subtle interactivity and animation make the story come alive on every page with unique things to tap and explore. You can tap to create more snow, hear the whale talk or to get Finn's boat to sail across the sea. And on the final page, my favorite, you can drag the sun right out of the sky to reveal a moonlit night, filling it with flickering stars everywhere you tap.

The well-crafted story is told as much through the illustrations as the text, featuring a combination of line drawings and 'newspaper' print. The 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 …

No Dogs Allowed by Tizio BV

This title is beautifully illustrated by Chantal Bourgonje and created originally for a digital format. The story tells about the 'no dog' ... a creature that is both magical and elusive. Signs all around may say 'no dogs allowed' but only a few lucky children will ever really see this fascinating creature.

Told in rhyming verse, this storybook has light animated interactivity. There are also two coloring pages included based on the book. This title is exceptionally well-made, with settings for a page-guide, volume controls and language options that include not only Dutch but also two different dialects for the English narration, both UK & US. Text highlights as narrated, although it is Read more …

The Wrong Side of the Bed by See Here Studios

The Wrong Side of the Bed is a wonderful, original and beautifully illustrated ebook that is delightful in both 2D & 3D. The book is about a little boy who wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. And I mean the REALLY wrong side of the bed as in under the bed, and then he walks on the ceiling. The book continues in this manner with Mott riding on the ceiling of the school bus and then flying into space before returning to earth at the end of the day. It ends with the little boy being very careful to get up on the right side of the bed the next morning.

When this book recently made our top 10 bedtime book list, I re-read it with my son and we discovered that the developer had added Read more …

Papa Gatto by PicPocket Books

"Long ago, in a time when it was not unusual for animals to speak ..." begins Papa Gatto, a richly illustrated Italian folktale. It is a heart-warming "Cinderella" style story, originally published in print in 1995.  It features an elegantly written re-telling by author/illustrator Ruth Sanderson, who's lavish oil paintings are matched only by her exquisite storytelling abilities. The reviews at Amazon.com for the print title bear this out with a 5 star average.

But this fairytale ends with the heroine turning down the marriage offer, or at least post-poning it. In a twist on traditional fairytale messages, the book ends on an empowering note for young Read more …

Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day by MAPP Editions Ltd Apps

Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day, by MAPP Editions Ltdis a charming storybook app both written and narrated by Amy de la Haye, and beautifully illustrated by the award-winning Emily Sutton. This tale takes you from Clara’s living room into a delightful adventure through the esteemed Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Her brother Ollie prompts the visit to the museum after his comment that buttons are boring and his rambunctious behavior, which damages the cherished hat of the late Granny Elsie. The bus ride brings attention to London’s most famous shops and gives kids a feel for the streets of London. Once in the museum they view Read more …

My House by Marianne Dubuc by WingedChariot Press

This new release from Winged Chariot brings Marianne Dubuc's delightful print title published in 2010 to the iPad. It's not so much a story as a journey, told in either English or French. One's whole world as a child centers around the home, and in this title the reader is taken on an imaginative trip from the hill where a little house stands all the way into deep space and back again.

Told with simple elegance and perfectly timed narration, this title exemplifies how a story can be lightly enhanced with just the slightest amount of interactivity and still create an immersive digital reading experience. Beautiful, hand-drawn colored-pencil etchings pulse slightly and can be moved on each Read more …

The Mud Monster by Tizio BV

Edie (a turtle), Pip (a goose) and Kay (a rabbit) are adorable animals who will charm children and adults alike in this new digital picture book by talented artist and author Chantal Bourgonje. There is a timeless quality to this tale, even though it is an original story written for the iPad. Lovers of traditional picture books will dive right into The Mud Monster's well-crafted verse for a familiar style of storytelling despite the modern medium.

The original illustrations are drenched in color (similar to Bourgonje's earlier app, Fierce Grey Mouse) in two separate versions of this book. Both versions are the same storyline but different artistic renderings of this circular Read more …

Flight of the Pamplemousse by Whynoceros LLC

Flight of the Pamplemousse is an original iPad tale told in rhyming verse about a boy who dreams about a mythical creature called the "Pamplemousse". He overhears a story half in French that includes a reference to grapefruit or 'pamplemousse' while he is falling asleep, causing him to imagine a fanatastic adventure with a giant Moose-like creature with wings.

This night-time dreaming adventure features beautiful, although almost hypnotic, narration in a crisp British accent. The story may be over many of the youngest readers heads, although my Kindergartner understood it best when I read it to him aloud with different pacing and emphasis, asking questions along the way. The app also Read more …

The Waterhole - Graeme Base by AppBooks

Based on the 2001 print title, this fascinating app brings Graeme Base's tale about animals gathering at a waterhole to life. Filled with games and an interactive storybook, this app is sure to please young and old alike. It isn't quite the same as the art-book style print title, but children will pour over this digital version to find the hidden creatures in this stellar counting book all the same.

The images are gorgeous in this app, however I would love to see the initial page with text much larger and highlighting as it is read. It is tiny and the image doesn't seem to really take advantage of the screen size. A 'loading screen' also disrupts things periodically. A page guide and Read more …

Grimm's Frog King by JustKidsApps - Katrin Draemann Barothy

Grimm’s Frog King includes two versions of the traditional folktale from the Grimm brothers in both German and English.  One is presented with a straightforward retelling of the story – the other includes some modifications as suggested by a co-moderator, a young girl who is sure to interject her own thoughts, criticisms and feedback to the story in the funny version (complete with alternate ending and a froggy family photo album).

The book includes lovely detailed illustrations by artist Vivianne Dommann that include tappable audio spots with sound effects and additional dialogue.  The pictures can also be zoomed to explore details (but audio doesn’t work Read more …

The Lonely Beast ABC 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 a lot of alphabet apps on the market, but this one is especially well-designed artistically, with a different approach to the interactive scene on each of the 26 pages. Children will love the chance to pop bubbles, play the drums Read more …

Put Me In The Story – Personalized Books by Sourcebooks

Sourcebooks is a successful independent and woman-owned publishing house founded in 1987 by Dominique Raccah. They have made forays into many genres, including children's picture books in print and now, in digital. This app contains one free story, The Night Night Book, that is a nice example of the personalizable features offered for their collection of stories, available for in-app purchase.

The stories are (so far) all based on popular print titles and include very light animation and interactivity, along with the special touch of adding a child's name into the text of the book. The child's picture is also included on the second page, like a traditional bookplate, along with their name Read more …

Fiona & the Fog by William Poor

Set in San Francisco, this gorgeous storybook about a bored little girl exploring a foggy day is truly exceptional. It begins with Fiona wishing "something exciting would happen" and ends in a deeply satisfying way, after traveling the city following her wind-driven scarf. The landscape is vast and exceptional with mood-setting, meditative music that relaxes young and old readers alike. The digital settings are sparse but provide just enough to navigate this beautiful book. A perfect bedtime story awaits readers of this delightful storybook app!

Highly Recommended!

This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in Read more …


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