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 …

Alizay, pirate girl by SlimCricket

Get ready for an adventure with Alizay the Pirate Girl! This app by French developer Slim Cricket Books takes children on a treasure hunt with Alizay and her father, Captain Rubber Foot. Together they will set sail to Wind Rose Island where they must complete several activities in order to find the treasure.

This book can be read in either French or English. It has two reading options: Read to Me and Read by Myself. It also has three difficulty levels to choose from. The harder levels will take more skill and time to complete some activities.

My two girls, ages 6 and 11, tested this app with me. The beautiful illustrations, interactive items, and animation right on the “cover” Read more …

Monster's Socks by Martin Hughes

Storytelling just got a lot cooler with this title about a little monster on a quest to find his lost pair of socks. Not-at-all-scary, this is a book app that will enchant youngsters with innovative features and top-notch production values. The little monster 'walks' across the screen with the help of the reader. Arrows in the bottom corners of each page let kids move the main character back and forth to explore  without any actual page 'turning' involved. This fits the medium beautifully and feels fresh and game-like, despite the more-or-less linear storytelling and well-crafted and paced text. This is definitely a 'book' but also something more.

Creative interactive elements are 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 …

The Year of the Dragon in 3D - A Peek 'n Play Story App by Mobad Games

This is another top notch animated title from Mobad Media, just in time for Chinese New Year! It features scenes that tilt for a 3D effect when the device is moved, lots of interactivity and a story that will engage kids from start to finish. It even includes some great extras, featuring information about the Chinese Zodiac and a series of hidden coins children can find while exploring each page.

Dominic is a young dragon that wants to enter the community boat race with his friend Bo and an assortment of characters representing the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. When no one will help the young crew learn how to paddle, they don't give up. In the end, Dominic saves the day with some Read more …

Thomas & Friends: Misty Island by HIT Entertainment

Now Universal App! Thomas the Train is beloved by many children, from the animated television and movie productions, to the actual toy wooden trains that populate many of the 'toy rooms' across the globe. This digital book is based on the movie, "Misty Island Rescue" released in 2010. The story in the book follows the movie plot and has Thomas needing to be rescued by his friends, who then successfully build the 'Search and Rescue Centre' out of Jobi wood.

The story is nicely narrated with vivid images from the movie. These scenes have nice, slightly animated touches, like steam coming out of the trains, as well as some more animated scenes of the the trains moving along the tracks and the Read more …

Jackie Junko by Springy Thingy

Jackie Junko and the Old Ship Yard is an app storybook about a mischievous young boat who wants to go on a dangerous mission across the water, like his father, but runs into more trouble than he bargained for. The world they inhabit reminds me of Pixar's Cars, except everything is a boat instead of a car. It is the first in a planned series of Jackie Junkie app-stories and it is iPad only.

What I like:

* The graphics are very, very good and unique. They are bright and colorful and give the feeling of interacting with a cartoon. Each page has water at the bottom so the reader can see what is happening under the boats. There are different fish and sea creatures, including my personal Read more …

Boats - Byron Barton by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Published in print in the late 1980's, the delightful simplicity of Byron Barton's illustrations have now arrived in digital. This app covers all the important aspects of water-bound vessels, from the types of boats to the steps it takes to bring a cruise ship into a harbor. Presented in bold colors with simple lines, these charming illustrations will win over any toddler, especially those fond of transportation books.

This title is lightly animated and interactive, allowing the curious child to drag items around the sky view, tap to hear words or tap to name objects in the scene. Settings include nice volume controls, a home button, pageguide and even recordable narration options. Like 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 …

Lobster Tale - Children's Book and Game by John Luchin

Lobster Tale is a whale . . . er, lobster . . . of an original tale that’s great for kiddos ages 6 and up. I can’t tell you too much detail without giving too much away, but this story follows Dominico, a lobster fisherman who has found himself on some hard times. What happens when he takes over a run-down lobster restaurant?  

This book app is chock full of all the dry humor and quick wit a person could ask for, which is absolutely right up my alley. It's also a little more edgy, with a few surprising twists that keep it from being your average predictable tale.The length of the story, along with the higher vocabulary, make this a great app for elementary-aged 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 …

Around the World with Lilup by Mythos Machine LLC

Lilup is a dog that is so fluffy he just floats away one day. On his journey, he visits many parts of the world by flying over and then gently landing to visit the wild animals below. Then he returns home to rest & dream of his adventures. He soars in the sky with birds, glides over ice, plays with several animals, splashes in the water and even joins in on a hunt.

Many of these adventures offer the reader the chance to interact with Lilup or the other animals by tapping or tilting the device. The scene with the penguins sliding on the ice and then 'huddling' together were my little boy's favorites, always making him giggle. None of these interactions are especially animated, but Read more …

Fiete – A day on a farm by Ahoiii Entertainment UG (haftungsbeschraenkt)

A delightful, wordless picture book is found in this sweet and simple app for young children. Parents and caregivers can explore this title with their youngsters, telling stories as they explore each setting. The app includes matching games and other memory activities, alongside a series of scenes with simple tasks to complete, like planting a seed or picking apples. With over 20 games and scenes to explore, this app is chock full of activities to engage and educate little ones.

Recommended!

This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the Read more …

Owl And Cat - Cute Storybook Based On Famous Edward Lear Poem by Mofables sp. z o.o.

In 1871, Edward Lear published The Owl and the Pussycat, a nonsense poem, as part of his book Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets. It is a beautiful piece of poetry, beloved and set to music frequently, including a 1960's version by Stravinsky. My favorite is from a record I had as a child, by Carly and Lucy Simon on the album, "The Simon Sisters Sing for Children". It makes a lovely accompanyment to this app, and is available on youtube.

As a nonsense poem, this is a delightful one by Lear, featuring a romantic mariner tale about an owl and a cat that sail for a year and a day. Lots of made-up words are included, like bong-trees and the piggy-wig. According to  Read more …

Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue - A Magical Adventure by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

This cute digital book tells a portion of the story from the Disney movie, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue. It is nicely narrated by Cindy Robinson and includes crisp graphic scenes from the movie. The story is also lightly animated and interactive, with sparkles of light to indicate where to tap. The fairies are a bit scantily clad, but this shouldn't be a big surprise to anyone familiar with the latest Disney movies.

The highlight of the book is a feature that allows the child to blow into the microphone of the device, triggering a burst of 'fairy dust' that sparkles across the screen with a nice 'tinkling' sound. This feature is on about half the pages and was my preschooler's Read more …

The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad by BelMontis Publishers Pte. Ltd.

The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad by BelMontis Publishers Pte. Ltd. has just been released. This is the second in the series of magnificent multilingual storybook apps for young readers! This charismatic tale is recommended for children ages six to eleven, and we are sure that many adults will also savor this awesome adventure just as much as any child. This is a classic story that has taken a new twist in letting the reader decide the path by asking which way should they go? Reader, can you help them choose? This app book was written by Jose Miguel Vilar-Bou and Matias Alinovi and illustrated by Alejaandra Zuniga Cardenas, a talented team that takes the finest care in every Read more …


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