A Day in the Market by Adarna House, Inc.

Published in print in 2008 by May Tobias-Papa, A Day in the Market won the Philippine's National Children’s Book Award for Best Reads in 2010. As a digital app, it has light animation and some nicely tailored interactivity. There are also a couple simple games that tie into this charming narrative, exploring a traditional market in Southeast Asia. The story is told in the first person by a young Filipino girl who is excited to travel with her 'nanay' (Filipino for mommy/mummy) on Market Day. The pair rides a bus that bounces along before exploring the crowded stalls of fresh meats, fish and produce.

Beautifully illustrated pages and a lovingly crafted narrative expose young Read more …

Dino-Store by Bluemarker.com LLC

Leo and his father are going to the store for a few groceries one day when they decide to get a really BIG box of eggs. On the way home, out hatch twelve dinosaurs - now the adventure really begins! Charming illustrations by Trade Loeffler bring a touching humor to this short but sweet tale by Roger Sedarat, from BlueMarker Studios. Featuring light but polished animation and interactivity that will surprise and delight both young and old alike, this tale is a must-download for dinosaur lovers. Clear, easy to read text is well crafted for young readers with classic picture book pacing and expressive narration (although it does not highlight word-for-word). Seamlessly produced, Read more …

Just Shopping with Mom - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Just Shopping with Mom by Mercer Mayer was published in print in 1989. It tells the story of Little Critter and his two siblings on a trip to the grocery story with their mom. The little sister in particular is giving her mom trouble, asking for things and disappearing down the aisles. For once, Little Critter is the voice of reason, trying to drag his sister back and get her to put stuff back. The digital version of this story also adds a new twist, keeping track as the reader tries to find all the little mice (19 total) hidden on almost every page.

Many readers have asked, "What kind of animal is Little Critter?" According to Wikipedia, Mercer Mayer did not specify which type of Read more …

Paddington Bear by Harper Collins Publishers Limited

This app is based on the first book in the classic Paddington series, published in 1958 by Michael Bond. It tells the story of how the little bear came into the lives of Mr. & Mrs. Brown at Paddington Station in London and his many adventures. This digital translation features the full story, along with lots of enhancements to engage a wired generation. Hints guide young readers to explore R.W. Alley's classic illustrations for light animation and interactive sound effects, giving this retelling a modern feel without losing any of the original story's charm.

As a digital book, this title is solidly made with easy navigation and ample settings. Page turning is by simple arrows and text Read more …

Five Little Monkeys Go Shopping by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

I love this series by Eileen Christelow, but I always think, "Poor Mama!" Funny & full of fun plot twists plus a surprise ending, this title has it all. In this story, Mama is taking her brood on a shopping trip for new school clothes. As they arrive at the store, she says, "Stick with me and don't go wandering off!"

The monkeys wander off, of course, making for a fun story with lots of interesting math. Mama counts the monkeys several times during the story, never quite getting things to add up to five. Fewer monkeys is a big concern and sends Mama on a frantic search to find the missing monkeys ... but what could it mean when she counts more than five?!? This is one funny and engaging 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 Lettermen go to the Shops by SN Squared Limited

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

The Lettermen was a series of books created in the late 1980's by Roger Knights. This book was published in print in 1993. According to the information page in the book, "It was never intended to be an educational system Read more …

Just Grandpa and Me - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Just Grandpa & Me by Mercer Mayer was one of the first Little Critter books, published in print in 1983. In this title, Little Critter needs a new suit, so his mom and grandfather take him shopping. Grandpa seems to get in as much trouble with mom as Little Critter does, making for fun mischief with masterful storytelling. The digital version of this book also adds a new twist, keeping track as the reader tries to find all the little grasshoppers and spiders hidden on nearly every page.

Many readers have asked, "What kind of animal is Little Critter?" According to Wikipedia, Mercer Mayer did not specify which type of animal the Little Critter is, but, "he resembles Read more …

One Globe Kids – children’s stories from around the world by Round by Design LLC

One Globe Kids – children’s stories from around the world, by Round by Design, has found a unique and undiscovered niche in the educational market and we think that they are onto something big! Children can “visit” friends from around the world and learn how different cultures operate. There are a total of eight friends at this time: Gabou and Valdo from Haiti, Jenissa from Burundi, Floor and Lars from The Netherlands, Luna and Lucian from NYC, and Aji from Indonesia.  The developer,Anne Glick, plans to be adding more friends periodically and has two in the works right now. Each child tells their story of life, in a typical day format. The 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 …

Pete's Robot by Heartdrive Media LLC

This is a fabulous book app about a little boy, his dog and the robot they build together. The story is told with stick-figure cartoon characters that are charming despite (or perhaps because of) their simple, scribbled style. They live in an eccentric village with a dinosaur chef and a monkey that delivers the mail. Even the font is quirky, but it all comes together beautifully, with light animation and a well-crafted storyline. The best part is a surprisingly diverse set of enhancements that are story-related (and super fun).

As Pete and his dog wait (and wait) for the robot parts to arrive, the reader can swipe the screen to see the sky change from day to night and back to day again, Read more …

Trouble at Trio Farm by 123 Number Fun Pty Ltd

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

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

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 …

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 …

Little Critter Collection #2 by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

An exceptional new app for young readers (with ten books in one) is now available from Oceanhouse Media! This is the digital version of the print books, released from 1983 through 1994, by Mercer Mayer.

This collection includes the following digital titles (click on the title to link to our review):

Just Go to Bed

Just a Mess

Just Going to the Dentist

Just Grandpa and Me

Just Lost

Just Me and My Little Brother

Just Me and My Puppy

Just Shopping With Mom

What a Bad Dream

When I Grow Up

These titles have been beloved for years in print and get a new life in digital, including educational enhancements. For the read-a-long effect, each word is highlighted as it is read. Tap on any Read more …

Lil' Helper by Tizio BV

More a game than a book, this app has a simple interface that pleases young children. Little kids love to help their parents (an eagerness that wears off as they get older, unfortunately), so this app about a child who is helping his/her mother shop, really hits the mark for keeping its audience happy. Kids will love the jazzy music and fun 'gamification' of the simulated tasks, but parents will love how deeply engaged children are with this app, providing a good value for entertainment and learning.

"Three fun games to help your mom!" begins this app, showing through a text story (non-narrated), the steps for the child to be a 'helper' by 1) shopping, 2) heading home and 3) cooking. The 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 …

The Best Teacher Ever - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
The Best Teacher Ever by Mercer Mayer is one of the new adventure with Little Critter, published in print in 2008. In this title, Little Critter tells readers about his favorite teacher, Miss Kitty and all the wonderful things she does for her students each day (which thankfully includes not playing 'cat & mouse' her rodent pupils). The digital version of this book also adds a new twist, keeping track as the young reader tries to find 15 of the little mice and 16 of the spiders, hidden on nearly every page.
 
Many readers have asked, "What kind of animal is Little Critter?" According to Wikipedia, Mercer Mayer did not specify which type of animal the Little Critter is, but, "he Read more …