Sparky the Shark - A Frighteningly Funny Adventure HD by Mark Newell

This is a lightly animated and interactive title that will tickle any child's funny bone! Sparky is a shark that wants to play on the beach without frightening all the people, especially when he sees that there is a sand sculpture contest coming up. His penguin friend tries to help by encouraging Sparky to put on a disguise, but in the end this big-hearted shark gets the best advice from his grandfather.

My child loved this book, including the one small extra where you can put fun disguises on an image of Sparky. The illustrations are delightful, portraying the toothy shark in a way that is anything but scary. Interactivity in this title is a child-pleasing feature, although not much of it Read more …

Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island - Interactive Book App for Kids by Treasure Bound Books Pty Ltd

Kai is a 10 year old boy with a wild imagination and a love of history and treasure. He lives above his parents' treasure shop and the illustrations of this store were so detailed that I could almost imagine being able to play a 'hidden object' game within the page. Tapping on any one of dozens of items elicits high quality sound effects at every turn in the shop's shelves. And we haven't even gotten to the heart of this book - the treasure hunt itself.

This digital book has wonderful interactive sounds and lots of things to touch on every page. One of my son's favorites was the lamp that Kai gets as a birthday gift. It has a shade that looks like a globe and tapping on it turns Read more …

Treasure Kai and the Seven Cities of Gold by Treasure Bound Books Pty Ltd

In this sequel to Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island, readers are in for a treat! Full of exceptional interactivity that is both story-related and fun, this title surpasses the first book in a way that is rare for a series. The first title was based on a print book with a similar approach to non-linear storytelling, using a series of treasure chests at the bottom of the book (with small toys representing each new page). In print, this title has been a family favorite in our home to this day. But, in digital, this title really took the storytelling up a notch, with a design that feels tailored to the medium of the touch tablet without losing any of the ingenuity of the original Read more …

How I Became a Pirate by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

How I Became a Pirate is based on the print title of the same name, published in 2003 by Melinda Long with illustrations by Caldecott Honor-winner David Shannon (for the 1998 classic, No David!). With expert word craft, timing and overall storytelling genius, Long weaves a tale about young Jeremy, a boy on a beach trip with his family. Without a word to his distracted parents, Jeremy joins a band of pirates to help them bury treasure. The adventure is wish-fulfillment at its very best for readers of all ages, as the boy teaches the pirates about soccer, learns to sail the stormy seas and even has a pirate pillow fight. It's not surprising that this title received many accolades in Read more …

Wish for a Fish (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat) by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Young readers will love learning with Wish for a Fish (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat). This non-fiction title, published first in print in 1999, was created to give children ages 5-8 the chance to explore the exciting world of sea creatures, with a familiar tour guide, The Cat in the Hat. The learning library series was created in the late 1990's by Random House with a talented team of illustrators, writers & educators, who mimic Seuss's rhyming verse and quirky illustrations beautifully.

And now the Cat-in-the-Hat Learning Library books are available as enhanced books, with the help of Oceanhouse Media. Featuring light animation and Read more …

A Shiver of Sharks by LITTLE BAHALIA PUBLISHING LLC

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

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

Compass 3D Storybook - My Ocean Friends by Compass Media Co., Ltd.

My Ocean Friends is a cute interactive book for very young children.  It is not lised under "Books", though, but under "Education".  It has lots of activities in it's mere 9 pages.  There is a puzzle, several little quizes about elements of the story and a coloring page that is actually quite nice at the end.  There is a very fun 'fast grey shark' on page 6 that when tapped, swims off saying "I'm fast".  My son loved this one and asked me to watch it several times while he had a huge smile on his face.  And if you leave the book alone for too long on any page, the whale falls asleep until tapped again.  It's really adorable. 

The whale is the narrator Read more …

A to Sea by Joshua Wilson

A to Sea by Josh and Donna Wilson of The Happy Dandelion is not your ordinary ABC book. Every page, including the cover page, has beautiful interactive graphics combined with soothing narration and audio. The book app comes in both iPhone and iPad versions, this review is of the iPad version.

Each letter in the alphabet is represented by a sea creature with an anecdotal description. You can either read the text on your own, or click on it to have it read it out loud. Click or tilt the screen to move the sea creature, see an animation, and/or hear sounds. Clicking on the bottom of the screen brings up a small banner with an interesting fact about the sea creature. These extra facts Read more …

Otter on His Own - Smithsonian Oceanic Collection by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Otter on His Own is a lovely little title from Oceanhouse Media's Smithsonian Collection - a series based on popular non-fiction print titles about the natural world. The print version of this title was released in 2011 along with an audio CD, revising an older Soundprints title from 1995. As an OM book published for mobile devices in 2012, this title sparkles, giving enormous value over its print counterpart, including narrated text that highlights as read.

This book series fills a great need for digital book apps with non-fiction educational content. The books selected so far have been well vetted as print titles, making it easy as parents & educators to select these Read more …

Finding Nemo Storybook Deluxe by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Disney brings their film adaptation of Finding Nemo to life in this digital book, pairing animated clips from the feature film alongside a nicely abridged version of the movie's plot. 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 hit movie.

My child, like most, loves Disney films, so he was delighted to hear the original voices from the movie interspersed throughout the book, along with lots of animation. 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 …

Shout Science! by Scott Dubois

Shout Science! by teacher, Scott Dubois, is a cool new app that engages kids in scientific discovery in a fun and engaging format. Shout Science! is a wonderful tool for teachers to educate kids about the scientific revolution, which took place in Europe beginning in the 1500’s. But – Heads Up, this app offers many features that could be applied to other subject areas so don’t let the title limit you! Geography, reading, math, and the arts, are all incorporated into the three narrative biographies of some of the earliest scientists. Shout Science! is the type of app that any teacher will love to illustrate an array of different ideas and skills.

Teachers With Apps Read more …

Rescue Helicopter HD by Top That! Publishing

"It's time to take off, up, up, and away!" ... your mission is to explore the skies and help people. This app is very fun for kids, shown through a window that looks like a helicopter control-panel looking out into the wild blue yonder. Readers can play with the controls, moving the levers to maneuver the copter through crowded skies. Beautifully enhanced and full of engaging interactivity, this is one app that toddlers, preschoolers and anyone in the under six set will truly love.

Every other scene has text explaining the mission of the pilot... on the scenes in between this text, the reader is challenged to move their vehicle across the page using the control panel. This lovely framing of Read more …

Deep-Sea Submarine HD by Top That! Publishing

"You're the captain of a submarine!" ... your mission is to explore the seas. This app is very fun for kids, shown through a window that looks like a submarine looking out into the deep. Readers can play with the controls, turning the steering wheel and maneuvering the submarine through treacherous waters. Beautifully enhanced and full of engaging interactivity, this is one app that toddlers, preschoolers and anyone in the under six set will truly love.

Every other scene has text explaining the mission of the submarine driver ... on the scenes in between this text, the reader is challenged to move their submarine across the page using the control panel. This lovely framing of every page 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 …

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 …

The Deep Blue Kingdom by Imaginatronics LLC

This educational app is filled with over a dozen detailed, educational descriptions of sea creatures. In a window on each page, there is a deep sea video showing the animal in its natural ocean environment. The videos play silently with background noise of scuba diving, mostly bubbles and gentle splashing. Videos can be seen in full screen mode with a quick two finger gesture, although the image is less clear in the larger view.

Each page is narrated in a crisp, clear voice. I found the narration nice enough, but it was a little too enthusiastic in a way that becomes grating on the listener over time. The book is extremely educational though, and my son and I were fascinated by the variety Read more …

Finding Nemo: My Puzzle Book by Disney Publishing Worldwide

This is a very short little book with a few puzzles interspersed in the pages. It contains a story that is a very abridged version of the movie, Finding Nemo. The illustrations are colorful and cartoon-like with minimal animation, not a replication of the computer-animated classic. The text is simple enough for a young child, although the font is a bit 'whimsical', which may challenge the youngest 'learner readers'.

There are interactive elements on several pages, namely items to tap. They then twirl briefly before leaving the screen. These items are 'gathered' for an final activity. A picture of a fish tank with outlined spaces for each of the items is at the end of the book. The child is Read more …

A Shark Knocked On the Door - An Interactive Animated Storybook App For Kids by Mighty Yeti Studios

A Shark Knocked On The Door by Mighty Yeti is an interactive storybook app in both English and Spanish. It is designed for both iPhone and iPad for kids aged 5 and under. Mighty Yeti is a Half Moon Bay, California – based animation studio dedicated to telling stories in exciting new ways. Mighty Yeti have released another storybook called ‘Mr. Cupcake has the Sprinkles’, which we recently reviewed, and are currently working on two more.

This storybook app is a fun and ‘hands-on’ reading adventure of a boy and his grandmother who decide to make a boat and float it down the gutter one rainy evening. After the boat is lost down the drain, the little Read more …

Fergus Ferry HD by SNOWBALL PRESS PTY LTD

Fergus Ferry, the lovable little ferry boat from the books and interactive app for Apple, Android and Amazon devices has been winning new fans and delighting old friends both young and old since their launch.

Fergus and his team are excited to share his adventures with you in his very own Animated Cartoon Series that are now available to watch on YouTube. Currently, animations 1-12 are available to watch and they will continue to add one animation per week until all 24 episodes are added. Check back every Friday for a new episode. They also created closed captioning for each animation, for children to read along while watching. Click the link above or just search Fergus Ferry in Read more …


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