Snow White by Nosy Crow by Nosy Crow Limited

The book app, Snow White by Nosy Crow, is a smart, and sometimes hilarious take of a classic fairy tale. In true Nosy Crow style, this app features vibrant illustrations. It preserves the key elements of the classic story, but removes the scary stuff (gone are any references to bringing her heart back to the queen). A modern sensibility persists, and the results are often hilarious (my favourite: the time Snow White refuses the queen’s poisoned cupcake because she just brushed her teeth). The interactivity is well-placed: for example, children can rock their iPad to put baby Snow White to sleep or, later in the story, they may help the stepmother make her poisoned brew. This app 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 …

Jack and the Beanstalk by Mindshapes by Mindshapes Limited

"I'm going on a fantastic adventure," says Jack as this story starts. Full of polished animation and fun interactivity that moves the story along, Jack and the Beanstalk by Mindshapes brings a fairy tale classic to digital in a way that is close to perfection. This title is fun, engaging and nicely enhanced for educational use. It features the kind of animation and cartoon-like illustrations that kids love, along with a nice retelling of the classic story about a boy who trades the family cow for three 'magic beans'.

The interactive elements in this app are top notch. Tap the mom to make her toss the beans out the window to grow into a giant beanstalk. Watch Jack eat his fill of cakes in 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 …

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 …

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 …

Moon and Sun - children's book by Marcio Monteiro

Moon and Sun - Children's Book by Marcio Monteiro tells the story of two lonely children, the Sun and the Moon. They live separate lives, never imagining the other exists. Until the day that Moon climbs down from the sky and finds the Sun. The two become fast friends, enjoying the days and nights. Follow the two friends as they learn the joys of friendship and the ensuing stars that are born.

This storybook is filled with whimsical illustrations that tell the tale of two new friends. As children engage in the story, they tap to find smooth animations as Sun and Moon dance and play. Tapping in other areas of the page elicits a relaxing swirl of dots, and occasionally other small Read more …

The Princess and the Frog Read-Along by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Disney brings the story of The Princess and The Frog to life in this ebook, pairing animated clips from the feature film alongside a nicely abridged version of the movie's plot. For lovers of princess stories, this app is a real treat that includes much more than a book, providing lots of entertainment for young readers.

Animated scenes from the movie are interspersed throughout this interactive title, making this storybook stand out from many of the other movie-themed book apps. The tappable sound effects & additional dialogue from the characters are also nicely tailored to expand on the story's plot. Learner readers will appreciate that the text highlights as read and parents will 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 …

Three Little Pigs and the Secrets of a Popup Book by Game Collage, LLC

Three Little Pigs and the Secrets of a Popup Book is a phenomenal offering in digital form.  On the iPad, in particular, it is a unique book offering in a rather crowded marketplace.  If it hasn't been on your radar before, it certainly should be.  I am delighted to finally have a version of the three little pigs than I can whole-heartedly recommend! 

And while this version does have a very 'unsoftened' ending (not only do two of the pigs get eaten, but the wolf is also boiled alive), my four year old did not find this tale scary. I think for fairy tales about personified animals, you can get away with a lot more of the original story, especially if the grizzly elements Read more …

MyBackpack - Waterford Learning by Waterford Research Institute, LLC

My Backpack is the first app from the educational non-profit the Waterford Research Institute. The app is designed for children from preschool through 3rd grade and has 4 different sections. It is designed as a classroom supplement to be used alongside Waterford Early Learning, a research-based adaptive software curriculum. It is currently free with no in-app purchases adverts or external links.

The 4 sections are : Read-a-Long, Mental Math, Sing-a-Long, and Nursery Rhymes.

Read-a-Long

There are 16 books included in the app, designed for Pre-k through 2nd grade. These are classic stories which have been rewritten for the Waterford Institute. They can be Read more …

Beauty and the Beast: Storybook Deluxe by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Disney brings the story of Beauty and the Beast to life in this ebook, pairing animated clips from the feature film alongside a nicely abridged version of the movie's plot. For lovers of princess stories, this app is a real treat that includes much more than a book, providing lots of entertainment for young readers.

Animated scenes from the movie are interspersed throughout this interactive title, making this storybook stand out from many of the other movie-themed book apps. The tappable scenes animate delightfully and are easy to find with hints, although page turns can be accidentally triggered when the interactivity is too close to the edges of the page (set to Young Reader Mode to Read more …

The Pied Piper by Stacking Books by The Candlestick Company, LLC

The Pied Piper by Stacking Books in conjunction with The Candlestick Company, rewrite the timeless classic, to introduce older preschoolers and early elementary students to the art of verse and the origination of idioms. Did you know that the story may have been based on fact? I am not pulling your leg here; it seems that something did go down in Hamelin. As early as in the year of 1284, the story began to appear and soon took on the characteristics of a legend. We may never know for sure what exactly happened; but a church window, a house (built in 1604 and dedicated to “The Piper”), and centuries of retelling this story all point to the importance of a Read more …

Jack and the Beanstalk Children's Interactive Storybook by Ayars Animation

There are a lot of versions of Jack and the Beanstalk in the app store right now, but this one is our favorite, so far. This ebook is so big, so interactive and so filled with hidden games and other surprises that I cannot begin to detail them all.

It's a relatively long book at 32 pages, but the real bulk of this app is in the interactivity hidden on every page. Drag the sun on the first page downward and the whole scene turns to night-time, touch the characters and they sing, talk and even trigger games, like a memory match game that is embedded in the middle of the book.

There is an extensive page index that indicates all the different interactive elements, since it would be hard to Read more …

The Three Pandas Animated Storybook by See Here Studios LLC

This is a delightful interpretation of Goldilocks and The Three Bears - featuring a cute little Chinese girl named Mei Mei. In The Three Pandas, Mei Mei takes a tour of the pandas home, just like the familiar story of Goldilocks. However, in this version, Mei Mei has the manners to send an apology after running off into the forest. The pandas respond by inviting her over to fix the chair and share a meal. I really liked this twist.

The book itself is innovative in digital form, combining animated photos of the pandas, Mei Mei and their surroundings along with computer generated graphics - like the enchanting scenes of the bamboo forest. The music is also beautifully done, enhancing the Read more …

Little Fox Music Box – Kids songs – Sing along - Christmas Version by Fox and Sheep GmbH

Little Fox Music Box – Kids Songs – Sing along, by the incredibly talented author Heidi Wittlinger, an Oscar nominated artist, and the developer, goodbeans, has just been updated. This songbook app now fully supports the Retina display of the New iPad and “WOW-O-WOW” is all we can say! Never do the interactions deter from the music, they are divinely subtle and compliment every note sung!

This app is a sing-along songbook featuring more than 100 interactive elements and incorporating 3 songs, which guarantee to bring smiles to the faces of young and old alike! It is brought to you by the team that created the bestselling app “Nighty Night.” Read more …

Tangled: Storybook Deluxe by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Disney brings their film adaptation of the Rapunzel story to life in this digital book, pairing animated clips from the feature film alongside a nicely abridged version of the movie's plot. For lovers of princess stories, this app is a real treat that includes much more than a book, providing lots of entertainment for young readers in the form of games, puzzles and coloring pages based on the Tangled movie.

My child loves this Disney film, so he was delighted to see a few animated scenes from the movie interspersed throughout the book. This is one of the ways this storybook stands out from many of the other movie-themed book apps available. This title also has a nice choice of Read more …

The Berenstain Bears' BIG Bedtime Book by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

The Berenstain Bears' BIG Bedtime Book was published in print in 2008, and is a great value in digital, featuring six stories from Mrs. Grizzle, the Berenstain bears' babysitter. The stories she tells the cubs are fun twists on familiar fairy tales, starring the bears themselves. The titles included are: 

1. The Three Little Cubs and the Big Bad Pig

2. Goldibear and the Three People

3. The Gingerbread Bear

4. The Three Billy Goats Gruff Meet the Bogg Brothers

5. The Little Red Hen

6. Little Red Grizzly Hood

Each story is under ten minutes on auto play, making all six great for bedtime reading, even for shared storytime. There are also lightly interactive elements that add both fun and Read more …

Princesses Learn Chinese - Snow White by early languages llc

This free app comes with one storybook, Snow White, and lots of extras to go along with it. The story itself is not especially enhanced, although it is a very unique app overall. The goal of the app is to "expose children to their first Mandarin Chinese words and expressions, through stories, games and songs."

The storybook itself is a nice, traditional version of the fairytale about a girl who runs away from her evil (and vain) step-mother to live with a bunch of dwarves. There are some lightly interactive elements like tapping on images to hear sound effects (e.g. birds chirping and dialogue in English & Mandarin). What really stands out is the way the story intersperses Chinese Read more …

Mr. Wolf and the Ginger Cupcakes - kids storybook by Lucia Masciullo

'Red Hood' is a little girl who is on her way to Grandma's in Mr. Wolf and the Ginger Cupcakes. The story follows the initial plot of the familiar story of Little Red Riding Hood. The wolf even seems rather mischievous. But the similarities to the familiar, and rather gruesome folktale, end there.

The wolf in this story is a vegetarian and distracts Grandma with a free bingo ticket so he can challenge the little girl to a chess match. Just as Mr. Wolf wins at chess (and is about to devour his earned reward of ginger cupcakes), a passing entomologist bursts in to discover the pair. The scientist and the reader then simultaneously discover that nothing scarier than ginger crumbs is going Read more …

Cinderella - A Princess Story by One Hundred Robots

This digital version of Cinderella is retold based on one of the most popular versions of the fairytale, written by Charles Perrault in 1697. Perrault added the pumpkin, fairy-godmother and glass slippers to the classic tale, making this a very familiar rendition of the rags-to-riches story for modern audiences.

As an app, this book is very well made and has a nice page turning style with arrows that trigger 'scrolling' to the next scene by moving the perspective to another part of the house rather than simulating a traditional page turn. The app has several simple sound effects on each page and a few light animations throughout the story. Classical music also accompanies the Read more …

Jack and the Beanstalk by Nosy Crow by Nosy Crow Limited

Fans of fairy tales have flocked to Nosy Crow's beautifully produced apps since the launch of the Three Little Pigs app in early 2011. Jack and the Beanstalk follows in the same tradition as Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella, featuring familiar stories with humourous dialogue (in speech-bubbles, which kids love) and reader-driven features that make for an immersive reading experience. The Grimm aspects of this and the other tales are softened, so there is nothing especially scary, although the characters can be a bit 'sassy' or impertinent at times. This dry humor, coupled with Ed Bryan's beautiful artwork and seamless animation, are a winning Read more …

Hansel and Gretel: Lost by PB&J Publishing

What makes a great book app? There are many viewpoints on this, but for me I think a great book app has to tell a good story and use animation and interactive elements to further the comprehension of the words in the story, rather than simply distracting the reader. One book app which meets my criteria for a great book app is Hansel and Gretel: Lost by PB & J Publishing.

The interactive elements actually move readers through the plot, which is a real win for beginning readers. The reader makes Hansel throw his breadcrumbs, and watches as little forest gremlins gobble them up. The reader helps Gretel climb the tree to see the witch’s gingerbread house. They later 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 …

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 …

Michael Garland's Icarus Swinebuckle Interactive Picture Book by Paul Scaturro

Michael Garland's Icarus Swinebuckle is a richly illustrated story with fun interactivity and several nicely animated scenes. It's the story of a pig who is a cobbler. He is obsessed with flying and when his flying contraption turns out to work, everyone in town is impressed. But like his name-sake, this Icarus also flies too close to the sun, causing his wings to come apart. This title is based on a print book, published in 2000.

There are some great animated scenes in this app, in the form of short videos interspersed with interactive pages. These videos are not present in 'read myself' mode, which makes it the preferred setting for more traditional bedtime reading. The interactivity Read more …

Three Little Pigs - S28 by Stella 28 Limited

Fairy tales are not difficult to find in app form. Of all the tales retold in digital (and print), the Three Little Pigs is one of the most popular. But all fairy tales are not created equal. This title is unique, not because the story is especially original, but because of the educational enhancements. Readers of fairy tales will be disappointed if they are looking for a quirky or interesting take on this famous story, but for teachers and parents, this is an app that is set up perfectly to engage reluctant readers.

The story is simple, following the plot of the three pigs and their homes made of straw, sticks and brick. I asked my son (age 6) after the first read through to tell me about Read more …

The Snow Queen Musical Children's Interactive Storybook Adventure by Phantom 5 Music Group

This is a theatrical presentation of a much-loved fairy tale that feels like a cross between Disney and Japanese animé. It has exceptional production values, five full musical scenes and exquisitely detailed illustrations. The Snow Queen, published in 1845 by Hans Christen Andersen, is about a fight between good and evil. It features two children (a boy and a girl) named Kai & Gerda. While this story is one of the longest fairy tales in Andersen's collection, it is also considered by critics as one of the best, despite being a less familiar tale for many American readers. [See synopsis tab for the full plot.]

As a digital book, this app is well-made with ample settings Read more …

Disney Princess: A Royal Christmas by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

This is a solidly made book app, featuring three popular princesses from the Disney films. Cinderella, Ariel & Tiana are each featured in one of three storybooks within the app. A print version of this book was published in 2010 and included a 4th story about Aurora. The app is lightly animated with fun interactive elements that go along nicely with the simple but satisfying storylines. The app also contains puzzles and coloring pages which can be accessed from within the app's pages or through a menu on the title page. Fans of Disney Princesses won't want to miss this title.

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly reviewed for a special post in our blog for the winter Read more …

The Blue Jackal - An Interactive Tale from Panchatantra by Jain Pranay Kumar

This is a tale from the Panchatantra, which is an ancient Indian collection of animal fables. According to Wikipedia, "the original Sanskrit work, which some scholars believe was composed in the 3rd century BCE, is attributed to Vishnu Sharma. It is based on older oral traditions and is the most frequently translated literary product of India. These stories are among the most widely known in the world."

In this tale, a jackal who is 'lazy and wicked', falls into a vat of blue ink and uses his unusual appearance to become king of the jungle. He intimidates the other animals, claiming he is 'God's messenger'. But one day he shows that he is just an Read more …

Cinderella HD - SO by So Ouat

Cinderella HD is a nicely abridged retelling of the classic tale of an oppressed step-daughter who triumphs with the help of her fairy godmother. The highlight of these titles when presented by So Ouat! is the animated storytelling. Characters in the book act out the scenes from each page. There isn't anything interactive about the illustrations, although tapping the screen does stop and start the narration (which highlights as read).

The only true interactivity present in this book is in the 'extra' - a unique drop down of each page's text that can be explored with several words highlighted. Tap on any of these words to get either a definition or image to help young readers Read more …

Viewpoints: The Blue Jackal and the Lion by KidsAndBeyond, LLC.

A personable little blue jackal appears on the title page of this book, speaking directly to the reader. "Find out how I, a jackal, became king of the jungle, and how the lion, the old king, feels. Tap me to begin the story," he says. Told in animated scenes with a fair amount of dialogue not present in the text, this title feels very modern in its storytelling approach despite the ancient fable it is based on.

The jackal, the story explains, accidentally falls into a pot of blue dye and as a result, he is temporarily made king of the jungle by the other animals who do not realize his 'blueness' hides nothing but an ordinary jackal. The displaced king has his own story, told after the tale Read more …

The Emperor's New Clothes - An Interactive Children's Book by TabTale by TabTale LTD

The Emperor's New Clothes - An Interactive Children's Book by TabTale, is a short but packed version of the classic fairytale. It is told in rhyming verse with lots of interactive animation for little fingers to tap. The vain emperor can be tapped several times from the very first page, causing him to change into a variety of outfits as he admires himself in a mirror. There are also dozens of other things to play with, on page after page, including interactivity that uses the motion sensor.

This interactivity, paired with several fun animations, is just the right amount of enhancement for the storyline. Every page has something to play with that corresponds meaningfully with the Read more …

Disney Storytime by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

This storybook app is a collection of titles based on Disney animated classics. The initial app comes with three titles (Monsters Inc., Tangled & Toy Story). Each book is a basic retelling of the plot of the movie with little embellishment. There is nice narration (with highlighting), music and recordable narration options, along with other easy-to-use settings, although page guides would be a nice addition. Children will enjoy their favorite movies in book form, but don't expect lots of bells & whistles. There is no animation, extras and only very limited interactive sound effects, which can be turned off in the settings menu. Note: Contains ads & links for in-app purchase Read more …

Fable: The Lion and The Hare by Green Broccoli, LLC

This delightful fable is told with a modern twist. The story starts with two kids in Chicago waiting for their grandparents to arrive from India. The grandfather brings the "Panchatantra" to share with his grandkids. It is a collection of Indian fables retold the world over, with stories about animals that teach many lessons. In this tale, a hare outsmarts a fierce lion by tricking him into thinking another lion is in a well. The lion dives after his foe, leaving the forest safe for the animals.

The illustrations are bright and colorful, featuring modern scenes from a suburban Chicago home, mixed with more traditional pictures of the story "The Lion & the Hare". The book 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 Adventures of Peter Pan by Chocolapps SAS

The Adventures of Peter Pan is a nicely abridged retelling of a classic tale. It captures the magic of Neverland, the Lost Boys, pirates and the boy who would never grow up. The highlight of a classic tale like this, when presented by So Ouat!, is the animated storytelling. Characters in the book act out the scenes from each page in short inset videos next to the text. There isn't anything interactive about the illustrations, although tapping the screen does stop and start the narration (which highlights as read).

The only true interactivity present in this book is in the 'extras' - a unique drop down of each page's text that can be explored with several words Read more …

Pinocchio HD - SO by So Ouat

Pinocchio (So Ouat!) is a fun, although greatly abridged, retelling of the story of a puppet that becomes a real boy. As I recorded the synopsis for this book, I found the version a bit unique, but nonetheless enjoyable. Nicely enhanced with light animation, this is a book app that is as fun to watch as it is to read.

Characters in the book act out the scenes from each page and perform dialogue as it is read in the text. There isn't anything interactive about the illustrations, although tapping the screen does stop and start the narration (which highlights as read).

The only true interactivity present in this book is in the 'extra' - a unique drop down of each page's text that can be Read more …

Fable: The Doves and The Hunter HD by Green Broccoli, LLC

This is another tale from the traditional "Panchatantra" told with a modern twist. The story starts with two kids in Chicago spending summer vacaction with their grandparents who are visiting from India. They head to the park to play and have a picnic. After eating, Grandpa offers to tell a story while they are feeding a flock of birds near a park bench.

The tale of The Doves and the Hunter comes from a collection of Indian fables retold the world over, with stories about animals that teach many lessons. In this tale, a hunter uses a large net to trap a flock of doves. The the king of the doves stays calm and suggests the flock all fly up in unison. The flock gets away and then lands Read more …

RealPinocchio - interactive book HD Full by Andrey Alexandrovich

There are many versions of the story of Pinocchio and his adventures in the app store (and in print), but this one is special in the same way as the popular Alice for iPad app, providing young kids 8 and up, with a version that is accessible for modern readers and also nicely crafted for their reading level (4th-6th grade). This title is not narrated, however, which was fine for Alice when it launched with its impressive and fun physics-based interactive elements in 2010, but two years later, this approach to a public domain storybook seems incomplete without a "read to me" option.

Very fun interactive elements enhance this app nicely, including lots of story-related additions that can Read more …

Aesop's Thinking: The Ants and the Grasshopper by Oddeye Co., Ltd.

This version of Aesop's The Ant & the Grasshopper is one of many digital books featuring Aesop's fables to debut on the iPad. There is a WIDE variation in the quality of digital book apps based on public domain stories like Aesop & Grimm Brother's tales. Many are not even narrated by native speakers or have syntax, grammar or other linguistic errors in the text of the stories.

This tale, however, is not only free (it's the first release in a series called Aesop's Thinking that retails currently for $4.99), but is also an excellent remake of the classic story. The wording is odd a couple times (the grasshopper will 'drop tears' instead of 'cry' if he doesn't prepare for winter, Read more …

Rolling Pea by KievSeaPirates

Note: Contains (still) Ad for Mazda Cars upon opening app, sponsor website accessible under parental 'gate'.

Rolling Pea, developed by KievSeaPirates and illustrated by Ivan Sulima, is an Eastern European folk tale from the Ukraine. This handsomely illustrated chronicle features a determined little boy named “Rolling Pea” who grows up to have amazing strength and embarks on a quest to rescue his brothers and sisters from a dungeon guarded by the fierce dragon. The story has spectacularly detailed artwork which is combined with subtle and detailed interactivity, fabulous sound effects and original music, all making Read more …

The Princess and the Pea - by Wombi by Wombi

This is a short version of The Princess and the Pea that is nicely animated and interactive. A bouncing pea greets the reader on the first page. This is one of many things to play with in this digital book. The interactive elements do a great job drawing the child into the story. You can help the Queen answer the door when the Princess arrives, place the pea on the bed, and then stack the mattresses one by one. Now the Princess is ready for her terrible night's sleep.

While this isn't the most in-depth version of this fairytale, with only 10 short pages, it is perfect for young readers. The book is not narrated, however there are nice sound effects to go along with the tappable animations. Read more …

Monkey And The Crocodile (for iPad) - by Niyaa by Kunal Desai

This instructive folktale is from the Panchatantra, a collection of Indian animal fables. It tells the story of a crocodile that tries to outsmart a monkey in order to eat his heart. The monkey is fooled at first but turns out to be the smarter of the two. The story is simple enough for children to understand but also filled with complexities that make for good discussion.

As a digital title, this one has a nice array of settings, including a home button and help menu. It features easy to read text as well as simple, arrow-style page turning. I found the narration included to be a bit 'over-expressive' but that can be a matter of taste. In addition to the English narration, this app has an Read more …

Pinocchio - Pink Paw Books Interactive Fairy Tale Series by WiseKids Corporation

A familiar tale is retold in this app with a host of fun enhancements, including simple animated elements that react when tapped. The illustrations & storytelling are lovely and educational features make this a great fairy tale app. Most of the interactive elements are not relevant to the storyline, however, providing children with a lot of fun things that bounce & wiggle when tapped but also potentially distracting kids from the plot.

The story is well presented with helpful settings like a page guide and ways to control audio elements. The text also highlights word-for-word, making for a nice educational feature. Overall, this is a nice digital reproduction of the classic fairy Read more …

The Twelve Days Of Christmas HD by Semyon Milbert

This is a solidly made app from XIMAD with physics-based elements on every page. The traditional English song/poem about gifts given over twelve days of Christmas is presented over 12 pages with nice background music but no narration (or singing). It is a festive little book to share during the holidays with unique and enchanting interactivity. Each page is filled with things that move & sway with the iPad's movement, along with lots of fun things to tap and play with while reading. The illustrations are rich in detail & color. Some interactive elements may distract young children from the story at times, but overall this is a lovely title. This app would also be useful for singing Read more …

The Night Before Christmas - Enchanted Tales by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

This digital book app is based on a straight-to-dvd animated movie from 1995. It is NOT based on the traditional poem of The Night Before Christmas. Instead this title follows the story of an orphan named Jeffrey who lives in a toy factory. He begins giving toys away to other orphans with lots of suspenseful plot twists. In the end there are toys that come to life and a conclusion that brings a happy ending to Jeffrey and all the other orphans. The app is solidly made with highlighting word-by-word with the polished narration. For a title this long, a page-guide would be very useful, but alas is not an option with any of the omBooks. Otherwise, this is a great treat for Christmas, engaging Read more …

Princess Dress-Up: My Sticker Book by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

This Disney Princesses sticker book has been a chart topper, and now it actually deserves a download. Very nice update! It's still not a traditional storybook, but it now has at least a short story for each princess and you can dress her up from head to toe (they added shoes!). Now your child can also see the princess in all her accessories and take her picture fully dressed. They even added another princess, Tiana. These changes should make a lot of little princesses (and their parents) very happy!

This little app in the 'books' category is really more of an 'entertainment' title - like digital paper dolls in sticker-book form. It features the very popular Disney Princesses, six in all Read more …

The Shoemaker and the Elves - An Interactive Children's Book by TabTale by TabTale LTD

The Shoemaker and the Elves is a very interactive book app with a stripped down version of the Grimm's folktale. The production values on all of the interactive elements are high, making it very intuitive & fun.  However, the story, told in rhyme, sometimes falls flat, missing some of the warmth of the original tale. The interactions are plentiful though, making this an app that kids will love to play with over and over.

In this version, the shoemaker & his wife are poor but happy ... the story doesn't make clear how they are in need beyond this, but the shoemaker goes to bed with one pair of shoes unfinished. When he wakes up the pair of shoes is 'fixed' although the story Read more …

The Tortoise and The Hare - An Interactive Children's Book by TabTale by TabTale LTD

The Tortoise and The Hare - An Interactive Children's Book by TabTale is a short but packed version of the story of a speedy hare and a slow but determined tortoise competing in a race. It is told in rhyming verse with lots of interactive animation for little fingers to tap.

This interactivity, paired with the colorful illustrations, captures a child's attention, certainly, but it is almost too much on each page, making it difficult to follow the storyline at times. There are a dozen or more elements on every page that can be tapped to trigger a variety of simple animations, like animals that bounce or disappear into windows or their shells. There are even flowers that move with the motion Read more …

Boy Dumplings HD by PicPocket Books

This is a nice little story about a ghost that tries to eat a chubby little boy who is out late one night. From PicPocket Books, this title features a great traditional tale about a boy who convinces a scary ghost that he has a recipe for ‘boy dumplings’ that is so tantalizing that the ghost doesn’t realize it is almost light out.

A very clever boy and even more creative recipe. Great for year-round reading and teaches how to take advantage of another’s greed and evil intentions. Great story although image resolution and page layout coul

This title is one of over a dozen titles briefly reviewed for a special post, "Enhanced Spookiness! Top 10 iPad Book Apps for Read more …

Goldilocks and the Three Bears - Children's Classic Stories by KwiqApps by KwiqApps Inc.

This book, for iPhone/iPad, is based on one of the most popular English language folktales. Goldilocks and the three bears has been beloved by many children and their parents for over a century, at least. When I went to get the itunes link for this book, I had to sort through dozens of other versions of Goldilocks. I have not seen them all, but this ebook is a nice version if you are looking for good storytelling with a tiny amount of animation. The book is not interactive, but sticks to the familiar version of the story in a way that young children will enjoy and older kids (6-10) might like as a book to read by themselves.

The illustrations have a unique quality, similar to the other Read more …

Rapunzel Classic Story HD by KwiqApps Inc.

This version of the fairy tale "Rapunzel" is well-written and nicely narrated.  The book does not have any additional features, but it is has simple settings for narration and easy page turn using arrows.  The story itself has lovely graphics that have a patchwork-quilt quality, reminiscent of several layers of fabric prints cut into shapes to make up most of the images.  It reminded me a bit of the felt-board stories we use in my son's preschool.

My son enjoyed the story, but it was a bit over his head at times, like when the man tries to get the Rapunzel plant to 'satiate' his wife's cravings.  The text of the story was also very small despite ample blank space on the Read more …

Alice for the iPad by Atomic Antelope

Alice for the iPad by Atomic Antelope gives you a unique chance to re-read this children's classic. It is very well designed and offers stunning illustrations, as well as cool interactive features.

This book app has been highly acclaimed in the press:

• “It reinvents reading.” - The Huffington Post 
• "I am blown away.” - Gizmodo
• "The future" - BBC 
• “A new generation of pop-up books.” - The Independent 
• “Shows why e-books are cool.” - Mashable 
• "Sumptuous." - The Sunday Times

Your kids will be delighted to watch Alice grow big as a house or shrink to just six inches tall simply by tilting Read more …

Tale of Sasquatch by Ever After Tales, LLC

In this charming fairy tale from Ever After Tales, we learn how Sasquatch (Big Foot) came into existence. It all begins with a play-like experience as the curtains rise on Act 1 (of 3). A young boy named Rupert stars in this this sweet tale alongside an adorable sock puppet named Mr. Stinky. Rupert's mother sends him on an adventure to forage for food, along with a protective magic ring that can call a fairy godmother (or a witch if rubbed the wrong way!). Both appear along the route, with an ending that has a bear turning from scary to silly until finally he becomes a creature altogether new with a surprise twist that only the title gives away.

Featuring kid-pleasing characters Read more …

Three Little Pigs : Star Tale - Interactive Fairy Tales for Kids by WiseKids Corporation

Star Tale (a division of Wise Kids) has come out with a beautifully rendered addition of the classic tale with their Three Little Pigs: Star Tale – Interactive Tales for Kids. One of nine books in a series that focuses on story content; Star Tale delivers a multisensory approach to each book. As the stories unfold, they leave one with a unique memorable experience, complete with discussion points and portraying life lessons. Each book offers professional narration, original music and artwork for each story. Let’s look at the Three Little Pigs – Interactive Tales for Kids and check out what makes this book so special.

On opening, choose between Read to Me, Read Read more …


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