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 …

Clam-I-Am! (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat) by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Young readers will love learning with Clam-I-Am! (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat). This non-fiction title, published first in print in 2005, was created to give children ages 5-8 the chance to explore the fascinating world "where the sea meets the sand". It's the ultimate beach story, with a familiar tour guide, The Cat in the Hat ... and the fish finally gets to have a starring role! This title is part of the Cat-In-The-Hat 'learning library' series, 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 Read more …

Just A Day at the Pond - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
Just A Day at the Pond - Little Critter by Mercer Mayer is one of the "New Adventures" with Little Critter and his family, published in print in 2008. In this title, Little Critter and his family visit their grandparents where they spend a day at the pond. Featuring a swimming hole, fishing and lots of pond life like frogs. The digital version of this book also adds a new twist, keeping track as the young reader tries to find all 24 of the little mice 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 a 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 …

KidsMag Issue 2 by Portegno SA

KidsMag 2 from Portegno Apps is part of a fantastic series of digital 'activity books', including a short but cute storybook. This issue has little brother Teo going on a fishing trip. He and his friends find worms, a perfect spot along the river and cooperate to catch the 'big one'. With 30 pages of activities, this is one of those apps that will keep a bored kid busy (and learning) for nearly an hour.

As a digital offering, this title is solidly made with ample settings to navigate and adjust the apps audio. The story and all activity pages have narration, so even pre-readers can enjoy this app. Illustrations are simple computer graphics but colorful and engaging in a cartoon-like way Read more …

Smithsonian Prehistoric Pals Collection by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Smithsonian's Prehistoric Pals is a nicely illustrated set of ten titles from Oceanhouse Media's Smithsonian Collection - a series based on popular non-fiction print titles about the natural world. The print versions were released in the past decade, along with audio CDs. This collection includes the following 10 titles: 

  • Ankylosaurus Fights Back: Ankylosaurus is so busy eating that he doesn’t notice the huge T-rex that is watching him! Will he get away from the dangerous predator?
  • Is Apatosaurus Okay?: Apatosaurus becomes surrounded by a pack of Ceratosaurus while he slowly lumbers toward the stream to eat. Will he get away and be okay?
  • Mosasaurus: Ruler of Read more …
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 …

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 …

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 …

Scott's Submarine by Charly Playe

Scott's Submarine is a cute digital book about an underwater adventure. The book has a unique graphic style and storyline that can be read at two age levels (2-3 & 4+) which could also translate nicely to reading levels for early readers and those who are more advanced. The book also has settings for multiple languages, including English, Spanish, French & Japanese. This makes it a terrific choice for foreign language learning & practice.

As a digital book, this title really stands out most for its stunning computer graphics. There is a lot to see and to do in this book, too, and while it is not really animated, there are several fun scenes that 'vibrate' to give the Read more …

The Berenstain Bears’ Really Big Pet Show by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

There have been hundreds of Berenstain Bears stories published since the first one debuted 1962. Really Big Pet Show is one of HarperCollins square paperback series, published in 2008. 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 favorite of millions of Read more …

The Berenstain Bears Lose A Friend by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

There have been hundreds of Berenstain Bears stories published since the first one debuted 1962. Lose a Friend is one of HarperCollins square paperback series, published in 2007. 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 favorite of millions of young Read more …

Penguin's Family - Smithsonian Oceanic Collection by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Penguin's Family - The Story of the Humboldt Penguin is a gorgeously illustrated title in 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 2004 along with an audio CD. As an OM book 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 digital books with confidence.

Each title in this series Read more …

The Cat in the Hat - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

The Cat in the Hat is obviously a 'must have' in any collection, whether it's a digital library or a set of hardcover books with gilded pages. This version is no exception, with bright beautiful pictures of the beloved classic Dr. Seuss. For the read-a-long effect, each word is highlighted as it is read. Although each page is essentially a still image, many pages begin by panning over Seuss' classic original artwork, zooming in and out to show off each segment of text, a nice semi-animated style.

Otherwise, the book has no real animation, although most of the items pictured in the story react to a light tap with a visual image of the word with accompanying audio (for example, tap on the 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 …

Boy and the Seagull by Oleksandr Ronzhyn

Boy and the Seagull is a charming story of a boy and his friend the Seagull. This app is great for children under 5 and easy for little hands to use. The story begins in a beautiful coastal town where a Seagull and his seagull friends live.

One day, the Seagull saw a small boy looking at him through a window and so it flew down to the boy. Their friendship grew stronger from that day onwards. One morning, the Seagull visited the boy and told him he was leaving for Seagull Island. Because the boy could not fly with him, the Seagull told the boy to use his mind in order to imagine the journey to the island. Through a series of fascinating encounters the small boy meets underwater friends Read more …

Books for Kids: At the beach by FUDEA-IIE-UFRO

At the Beach or En La Playa is a delightful digital title for the iPad. It is filled with lovely beach scenes that depict a typical day at the ocean's edge. Every page is full of animated sea creatures & birds, along with interactive elements that animate briefly. The book also has a nice assortment of activities at the end that include reading comprehension questions and other education activities related to an ocean theme.

The story itself is very short, but tells a poem-like tale about a day at the beach. The interactivity ties nicely to each page's text, although there isn't a lot of 'plot' to reinforce. There is a sand castle you can tap to see it fall (or be built), boats that 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 …

The Monster Fish - Animated Storybook and Game by Shaun Chapman

The Monster Fish is the first storybook app from developer Squeeze Games. It makes quite an impressive entry with its stunning 3D graphics, beautiful animations, entertaining story and an excellent narrating voice. The Monster Fish follows the Wendell family (Dad, Mom, Sam, and Katy) on their camping adventure. One Day, Dad, Sam and Katy go on a boat to try and catch some fish for dinner. Katy hooks a monster fish that jumps out the water. Dad, Sam, and Katy are mesmerized as the fish appears to stop and float in mid-air for a few seconds before jumping back in the water.

Upon returning to camp, they excitedly tell Mom about the monster fish. Mom, however, finds it hard to believe such an Read more …

Little Otter Goes Fishing by SINGAPORE NATIONAL CO-OPERATIVE FEDERATION LTD

A wonderful tale is woven in this digital book from the SEED institute, part of the Singapore National Co-operative Federation's attempt to produce quality digital children's literature for a global audience. In this storybook, Little Otter is eager to learn to fish. He seeks the help of Big Otter and soon has learned all the important skills he needs, like how to hold his breath and dive. Soon Little Otter has a handful of fish to eat and is very proud of himself. When Baby Otter joins them, saying, "Wow, can you show me how to fish?" Little Otter is happy to be the teacher now, passing on his new wisdom.

A series of six nice discussion questions follow the story, which is lightly animated Read more …

McElligot’s Pool - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

This title, from Oceanhouse Media, was published by Dr. Seuss's in print in 1947. It follows the imaginative story of a boy named Marco who is fishing in a rather sad, small pond, called "McElligot's Pool". Marco is convinced that he might actually catch something, picturing a vast underground river that flows below the town. This river leads to a deeper pool full of fanciful and exotic fish that only Dr. Seuss could envision, like a Dog fish or circus fish or one that skis down underwater slopes. Geisel was always a lover of make-believe, and this title shows off his whimsical storytelling with a subtle message reminding adults to be careful not to crush a child's imagination.

McElligot's Read more …

Mini Fish Tale by Choudhury Sarada Nanda

A Mini Fish Tale is a story about a little girl who receives two beautiful fish for her 10th birthday. One of the fish becomes ill and dies, however, making the other fish (and the girl) very sad. In this beautifully illustrated and lyrical tale, the little girl finds a way to make her fish happy again.

Young readers will enjoy this short but satisfying tale about having a pet and knowing when to set it free. The gorgeous illustrations and subtle pacing of this story make up for its lack of enhancement. There are no aninimated or interactive elements in the storybook, but none are really needed. The expressive and richly colored illustrations do more than enough storytelling without Read more …

Turtle's Day at the Beach - Interactive Storybook for Kids by Christopher Black

The Adventures of Turtle Girl: Turtle's Day at the Beach is an interactive gem of a book app for kids under five. Young readers older than five may also enjoy the chance to read this title to themselves, but it is really an ideal app for toddlers and preschool age children. It features Turtle and her friend Olive the Octopus as they spend a fun 'day at the beach' (although technically they are underwater, so it's more like a day on the ocean floor). There are twelve pages, although only about half have text, with the others containing activities for the reader to complete.

This title shines most for interactivity, in a 5-star way! It features plot-related animation, triggered with a 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 …

Who Will Rule? [HD] by Emantras Inc.

This is a really enjoyable tale that is based "loosely on Australian Aboriginal folklore," according to the developer's description.  It's important to me as a parent to expose my child to interesting stories from around the world, so I was immediately willing to look past some of this book's technical oddities.  And it's worth it for a book that really has a lot of of attractive features and above all a wonderful moral tale.

Right from the first page, my son gravitated toward the colorful artwork in this book.  He was delighted to see rain drops when he tapped on the clouds & hear an amazing variety of animal sounds from the colorful creatures.  The illustrations of Read more …

Mabell's Zoo - Interactive Counting Book by Brenda Long

Mabel's Zoo is a simple but lovely storybook app that explores familiar animals found in a zoo for the very youngest readers. Simple text, lacking grammatical polish, accompanies each patchwork scene. "Elephant gives rides to the birds", "Monkeys swing from vinces and each other" and "Tangs bring sunshine to the ocean" are typical phrases found in this book app, explaining to young listeners the basics of wildlife. Within the app's 10 pages (no pageguide), children will find the sounds and sights of many zoo animals. This is an app that is fun to explore and share with a young child, especially when teaching about the natural world and animals.

Recommended.

This app has been thoroughly Read more …

F:sh by Brandwidth Marketing Ltd

This unique new digital book app is an undersea adventure. Three friends explore the ocean, a deep sea cavern and even help a stranded submarine along the way. This book app is also fun because it moves through pages that go forward and then down and back up when the trio explore the sea cave, challenging our notion of a strictly linear storyline.

Plip, Shella & Jelly are the main characters that get together one day to explore the seabed. They discover a hole and explore its darkness until one of the fish has an epiphany triggered by a sneeze. The storyline is fun although their 'adventures' were a bit anti-climatic since all they do is go down into the sea hole and then return home Read more …

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Oceanhouse Media

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish is a delight in digital form, with bright beautiful pictures of the beloved classic Dr. Seuss. For the read-a-long effect, each word is highlighted as it is read.  Tap on any word to hear it spoken, even in the 'read-it-myself' mode.  All of the Dr. Seuss books are an excellent choice for children learning to read because they are filled with simple words (mostly 'sight words' in fact).  They are popular with parents and children precisely because they make learning to read fun.

Although each page is essentially a still image, many pages begin by panning over Seuss' classic original artwork, zooming in and out to show off each segment Read more …

A Saltfish Story HD by i-storybook

A Saltfish Story was a surprise favorite in our house this past week. My son loves salt, so the topic was one he was immediately interested in hearing about. The story is a well laid out folktale of unknown origin (and I searched to figure out what culture this little jewel came from, but even the developer's site says "coming soon" so if anyone recognizes it - let me know!). Basically it's a tale about why the sea is salty and about how Salmon came to be forced out to sea for their whole lives until they return to die.

The whole story is very fun, with salt snowing onto three rather odd little figures (a tiger, bunny and an animal I cannot identify, but it's got hooves and is dressed Read more …

Snowpo: The Trip for Fish and Chips by Tinkertanker

Snowpo: The Trip for Fish and Chips is a short but sweet book app for kids ages three and up with unique interactivity. It is the story of a very hungry polar bear who has a hankering for fish and chips. What better way to satisfy such a craving than flying off to London to sample the local fare? Snowpo does get into a bit of hot water along the way, but this is a fun tale overall. The storyline has a nursery rhyme quality about it, told in simple but solidly written verse to match the cool, retro-looking artwork.

This digital book also offers crisp narration that highlights word-for-word, pairing nicely with the polished illustrations. The images have a cartoon-like quality that kids will 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 …

Punky Goldfish by Moo Goo Media, LLC

This is a sweet, rhyming book about a cat that dreams of catching a goldfish. Little Punky Dunk watches a bird in it's cage and the fish in their tank longingly, wishing that he could change his diet to include something a bit fresher. In the end he dips his paw & nose in the water but only gets wet for his troubles.

This app is based on the public domain text and illustrations from a title published in 1912. The story is very short with light interactive animations. Most of pages have just a bit of movement of the images, although everything is well done with a crisp response and nicely integrated sound effects. Text is in a clear, easy to read font that highlights along with lovely Read more …

iReading HD - The Fisherman and the Golden Fish by AppleTreeApp

The Golden Fish contains a simple retelling of a folktale about a fisherman who catches a golden fish that can talk and grant wishes.  The fisherman's wife is very greedy, so when he returns to tell her about the encounter, she berates him and makes him ask the fish for more and more, until she wants to be ruler of the sea and have the fish do her bidding.  The characters, like in most folktales, are very one-dimensional, with the fisherman being hen-pecked and his wife being insatiable.  I find this tale a bit harsh in its treatment of women, but it does have a clear moral about not being greedy.

The book is narrated only, without any interactive or animated elements.  Read more …

Mousefish by Jake MacMullin

This isn't a book so much as a mini-game/activity for very young kids.  It is engaging and fun to 'flip' (or slide in the case of the iPad), the three different segments of each body to mix and match.  Create a mouserpillar-octopus, like I did above, or one of dozens of other combinations.  No audio, text or extras.

This little book is basically just an iPad version of a flip book, featuring a caterpillar, parrot, octopus, fish and mouse.  The illustrations are rich and have a sepia-tone quality, like antique paper. 

There is no other interactivity except to flip the pieces to create dozens of funny creatures.  A modern take on the flip-book, in touchable Read more …

Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef by Dawn Publications

Over in the Ocean is a beautifully illustrated book app based on the print title published in 2004. Author Marianne Berkes weaves a simple but sweet story about sealife over ten pages, counting one-by-one until by all the fishy babies have been found. This well-crafted tale, told in rhyme, is delightful and can be read aloud, narrated (with highlighting) or even sung to young listeners.

As lovely as the story is, the illustrations are even better! Beautiful colors depict a sea of creatures with light interactivity and animation. The ocean comes alive with Jeanette Canyon's original creations. Music is also lovely as an addition to this multi-media app, however it has been poorly Read more …