The Land of Me - Story Time by Made in Me Ltd.

This book app is one of the finest examples of digital storytelling to come across my tablet in a long time. It is beautifully made, created by The Land of Me. Upon opening it, readers are greeted by a scene with a serious but loving storyteller in the form of Granny Olive and three juveniles: a bear named Buddy Boo, a raccoon named Eric and a bird named Willow. This wise old tortoise will have your child as enthralled as her three charges, the minute you open this app. It is lovingly detailed, solidly built and thoughtfully tailored to its target audience of ages 2-6+.

While the stories in this app are very short (barely 2 minutes long), there is enormous replay value, since there are Read more …

Nighty Night! HD - The bedtime story app for children by Fox and Sheep GmbH

Nighty Night! begins with, "Night falls. The moon is high. All the people are ready to sleep as they turn off the lights. But wait! Look at the farmhouse. There are still some lights on. The animals are sleepy, too. Do you want to turn off the lights?" A peaceful farm appears, where you can tap on any one of seven lit areas on the page. The next scene shows an animal still awake (with a light switch nearby). Tap the switch (each light & switch is different) and the animal settles into sleep, closing their eyes.

After all the animals have been put to bed, there is just one person still up - a little boy (and the reader). The last scene is of this little boy waving out his lit Read more …

The Going to Bed Book - Sandra Boynton by Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

The Going to Bed Book is a perfect bedtime read created by Loud Crow, the same developer that made PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit. While it is interactive with subtle 'pop-up' style animations, it is short and accompanied by relaxing piano music that is ideal for settling down at nighttime. The print book, published in 1982, is also a chart topper with hundreds of 5-Star reviews at Amazon.com.

The book has a similar style to the Peter Rabbit ebook with lots of touchable elements that bounce slightly like a true pop-up book. There are also delightful touches, like water faucets that turn on and off, bubbles that float across the page to be popped with a tap, and even a foam that covers the Read more …

Astrojammies by Demibooks Inc.

Astrojammies is well-requested at bedtime by my little astronaut, so maybe yours will like it too? Traveling along with Jimmy, the little boy in star-covered jammies, is a real treat in this imaginative book. Shake the iPad on the first page and Jimmy's jammies shimmer with stars (lock the screen orientation first, though).

As the book continues, the reader can interact by spinning Jimmy, flicking him around the universe, making him dodge comets, tapping on a rocket that takes off, touching a planet that oozes or revealing a space baboon's face on a planet. But by far my favorite page is the one where several planets hover calmly ... until you touch them or move the iPad, then they Read more …

Midnight Feast by Dan Hare

Midnight Feast is another exquisite tale from the creators of The Artifacts. Complex and hauntingly beautiful, the story follows the night-time imagination of a young teen who longs to stay up past her bedtime for what she pictures is a vast banquet. Gorgeous illustrations and beautifully paced interactive dialog create an immersive reading experience for readers ages nine and up. Polished production values, thoughtful settings and the inclusion of close reading notes round out this stellar new title.

Tapping is not so much for exploring randomly in this app but an extension of the reading experience. Your fingers absorb part of the story by unlocking it, deepening your understanding of the Read more …

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Oceanhouse Media

This is a perfect digital version of "Five Little Monkeys" a beloved tale by legions of kids and their parents. It is an adorably illustrated classic from the print version by Eileen Christelow. This book series consistently gets 5 stars from Amazon.com reviews and includes games, audio books, board books and every spin-off product you can imagine. As an ebook app for young children, this one has a well-deserved place at the top of the charts.

The 5 little monkeys go through their nighttime routine, including jumping on the bed until ... they fall off the bed and bump their heads. I'm sure you saw that coming. But mama didn't! So she calls the doctor and in his wisdom and authority he say, Read more …

Who Stole The Moon? - Interactive e-book for children by Windy Press International Publishing House, LLC

Bertie is a little boy who loves staring at the moon and stars through a large window in the ceiling of his bedroom ... until one day the moon goes missing. In this enchanting and beautifully illustrated storybook app, readers will find out how Bertie solves this mystery, with the help of some nocturnal friends. Based on a 2010 print title, this app features over a dozen options for translation, perfect for foreign language learners. Who Stole the Moon? is also a 'must-download' title for lovers of bedtime book apps in particular.

Ingenious interactive elements include story-related gems as well as lots of unique features, like pages that scroll up and down, alongside more linear arrow page Read more …

Teddy's Night by Auryn Inc.

Teddy's Night was an instant hit in our house, just as we loved "Teddy's Day".  The interactivity & animation is also well-integrated into the storyline and varied enough to entertain a child for a very long time.  There are so many totally original things to discover in this book, like blocks that you can knock over, a tub you can fill (touch and hold on the faucet), pop-able bubbles you can create by tapping a soap bottle, lights that turn on (or off) and even a memory game in the bathtubs tiles!  There's also a great potty scene with teddy on his own little potty chair next to the little girl.  Tap on either the girl or teddy for some authentic sounding bodily Read more …

Steam Train, Dream Train by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Published in print in 2013, this delightful digital book was authored by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, creators of the critcally acclaimed Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. With light animation and educational features like touch-to-hear text, Steam Train, Dream Train captures young listeners with a lyrical tale. Immensely rereadable, this story follows a sleepy-time train filled with animals heading to dreamland. From a dashing young rabbit to snacking dinosaurs, the various scenes will amuse young and old alike.

Extra features include the ability to record your own narration as well as excellent navigation with a nice visual thumbnail Read more …

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld is a classic bedtime story, published in print in 2011. Now, it’s a delightful children’s bedtime app. Created by Oceanhouse Media, this book app has all the same elements children love plus movement, sound effects, and some delightful surprises.

The app brings the book’s illustrations to life with small movements and sound effects, but not so much that they distract from the story.  At the beginning, you are able to choose to read for yourself or have a narrator read to you.  As the narrator reads, each word in the text is highlighted.  A touch to anything on the screen Read more …

Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Fifty years ago this month, Dr. Seuss published this popular bedtime story, now available in a beautiful digital presentation from Oceanhouse Media. Starting with a very small bug (named Van Vleck) to the Zizzer-Zoof Seed salesmen, children will be enthralled by the detailed and imaginative illustrations in this book. Screen after colorful screen shows sleepers of every shape and size, adding up a "Who's-Asleep-Score" that needs just one more (the reader).

Many adults treasure a favorite title from Seuss' prolific collection of picture books, written in the latter half of the 20th century. After reviewing dozens of these classics in app form, I am delighted to finally review the Seuss I Read more …

Miss Spider's Bedtime Story for the iPad by Callaway Digital Arts, Inc.

Miss Spider stars in this popular book series by author David Kirk, and fans of this title on the bookshelf (published in 2006) will want to download a copy of their favorite Miss Spider tale for bedtime in digital form. The 'play' feature is basically an animated movie packaged into the book, lasting over 12 minutes.

Once you are in the reading mode of the book, the interactivity brings the story alive and adds a magical quality to the whole experience. The audio is crisp & lovely with nice, relaxing background music that makes it lovely at bedtime, although there are many games and interactive elements that could be too stimulating for some children.

The pages of the book, under Read more …

Twinkle Twinkle by Super Simple Learning, Inc.

Twinkle Twinkle is an adorable book app with music video of the classic song included. The computer animation in this title is superb, accompanied by a simple but sweet story about an owl making friends with a star in the night sky. The title is also interactive, letting the reader trigger most of the animated scenes.

Extras include a page with 20 stars to tap and hear the count aloud (although no numbers appear, the stars do animate and 'spin' as they are tapped). There is also a 2+ minute animated music video of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star that is very relaxing with delightful piano music. The book itself is presented with short animated clips that play briefly before each page's text Read more …

The Wrong Side of the Bed by See Here Studios

The Wrong Side of the Bed is a wonderful, original and beautifully illustrated ebook that is delightful in both 2D & 3D. The book is about a little boy who wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. And I mean the REALLY wrong side of the bed as in under the bed, and then he walks on the ceiling. The book continues in this manner with Mott riding on the ceiling of the school bus and then flying into space before returning to earth at the end of the day. It ends with the little boy being very careful to get up on the right side of the bed the next morning.

When this book recently made our top 10 bedtime book list, I re-read it with my son and we discovered that the developer had added Read more …

Peterkin Meets A Star HD by Take 2 Ventures LLC

I am re-reviewing this truly wonderful little book now that the developer, PicPocket Books, has updated it with high-resolution images worthy of the iPad. It is such a delight to see this story's crisp watercolor illustrations!

Peterkin Meets a Star was published in print in 1985 by Random House Books for Young Readers.  It is out of print (unless you have an iPad), although when I checked Amazon for ratings of the print version, I did find used copies available for sale and three 5-star reviews from people clearly excited to find any copy of a much sought after favorite.  I vaguely remember reading this book to the kids I babysat - the year sounds about right. :)

Peterkin, a Read more …

Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

In this Dr. Seuss classic, published in print in 1972, a familiar evening scene emerges, that of a child that just won't go to bed. The story is told in rhyme and features a twist only Seuss could have on this classic bedtime dilemma. The parents point Marvin to bed with a litany of suggestions that includes showing the boy on all manner of conveyance to his bedroom, from a Bumble-Boat to riding in a Zumble-Zay. The illustrations are delightful, right down to the way the adults are never shown, excepting for a hand pointing from the side of the page. This is a book that will make both parents and children giggle in recognition. It is even just about the right length for pajama storytime Read more …

Just Go to Bed - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Just Go To Bed by Mercer Mayer was published in print in 1983. It is a beloved story about Little Critter as he challenges his very patient father with lots of bedtime procratination. From pretending he general at war to a cute little bunny, Little Critter just doesn't want his day to end. But his parents are persistent in this adorable classic from Mercer Mayer.

Many readers have asked, "What kind of animal is Little Critter?" According to Wikipedia, Mercer Mayer did not specify which type of animal Little Critter is, but "he resembles a hedgehog, hamster or guinea pig." So, basically he's a rodent ... although a rather lovable one! Over 200 books have been 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 …

Auracle HD – Miko "Where is Mimiki" by Auryn, Inc

The Miko books, by talented author Brigitte Weninger, have been among my child's favorites in print for many years, published in the past decade. I especially love the beautiful illustrations of Stephanie Roehe that pair so nicely with the sweet stories in this series. In this title, Miko can't find his 'lovey' Mimiko, a little mouse-doll that he always has as a companion in the series.

After searching high and low, Miko and his mom still cannot find Mimiki. Any parent of small children knows the panic that sets in after an exhaustive search for a special toy. My child seemed near tears himself, listening to the page about Miko having to go Read more …

Goodnight Moon by Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

In the Great Green Room, there was a little boy and a red balloon has lulled millions of children to sleep since it was introduced 65 years ago. Goodnight Moon, a classic story for children of all ages, has been adapted to an app by Loud Crow and features interactive elements that bring the storybook to life in the great green room. Children can touch, swipe or title the screen to help the fire crackle, cow jumping over the moon, the old lady whispering hush, fading lights and more. The app features a “read it to me”, autoplay and a read it to myself option. The optional piano music can be turned on and off as you wish within the story.

Our family loved this digital rendition of Read more …

Diana Dreams about Dinosaurs HD by Genera Games

Diana Dreams about Dinosaurs is a delightful animated title from TouchyBooks. It has wonderful interactive elements that reinforce the cute story about a little girl obsessed with dinosaurs. She wakes up to find all the people in town turned into dinosaurs, from the mailman to her teacher at school. But when the school bell rings, she wakes up again to find her own alarm clock making the noise - she had been dreaming! The book then repeats her day with people in place of the dinos, although they are all still sort-of dino-shaped, amusing little Diana to no end.

Fun things to trigger include making Diana run down the stairs and cross the street with the light properly. There are so many of Read more …

Little Bella's - I Close My Eyes by Out Fit 7 Ltd.

Little Bella is a relatively short, animated book released for the iPhone/iPod only.   This book is often a favorite "last book" at bedtime in our house, since the ending has little Bella falling into bed & going to sleep herself.  We usually avoid overly animated or interactive books before bed, since they can be too stimulating, but the overall effect of the music & dreamy animation is relaxing enough even for nighttime.

Each page has little Bella stating in her cute Australian accent, "I close my eyes and I am ..." followed by 12 different imaginative statements, ranging from climbing the tallest tree to becoming a dolphin diving in the ocean.  My son was Read more …

Simone and the night's monsters by Simiula

Simone and the night's monsters is a unique ebook app about a little boy who bravely battles a crazy assortment of 'monsters' that inhabit his room after dark. His mom checks on him because of all the noise, but every time she opens the door, the scary creatures disappear. Instead of believing Simone's stories, she says, "Simone, stop making such a racket! Go back to bed right now."

After a nearly sleepless night where Simone triumphs over a green blob monster, giant spider, vampire, skeletons and a witch, he wakes up to a very messy room and very unhappy mom. He trudges off to school, sleepily. Meanwhile his mother is shown in the last scene scolding the group of monsters and making them Read more …

Twinkle, Twinkle, Nighty Night by Alexis Purcell

Twinkle, Twinkle, Nighty Night is a sweet book featuring very light animation and simple interactivity that is well tailored to the storyline. Crisp, colorful illustrations with lots of fun details will appeal to children as the nice narration highlights along with the text. The storyline is simple but charming, as the reader gathers items (happy dreams) to deliver to each of the animals (who are having trouble sleeping). Interactivity is perfect for little ones and is not activated until narration ends. A great length and topic for bedtime, although activity apps can be a distraction for young children at night. A page guide would be a nice addition, but parents will be pleased to find no Read more …

Zoobert's BIGGER Day by Patrick Laneville Enterprises

This book features a cute little monster named Zoobert who lives in a sock drawer. He sounds and acts like a young child, making him very relatable and definitely one of the least scary monsters on the planet. The reader gets to be involved in the story, not by touching the screen, but by shaking the device. This can be difficult when young children read it on the iPad, because of its weight, but any movement that has a firm 'jerking' motion will usually do the trick (the page has an arrow to tap as an alternative if shaking seems like a bad idea) An iPhone version is also available, see the 'other versions' tab on this review for the link and more information.

The child begins by shaking Read more …

The Perfect Pillow by Gregory Pugh

Colin the turtle has been having trouble at night. No matter what he tries he just can't seem to get to sleep. "Let's get you a new pillow at the store," suggests his mom in this lightly animated & interactive book app by Greg Pugh. This is a short, simple story that will engage young children, with cartoon-like illustrations and a storyline that is both familiar and fun.

There are not a lot of frills with this book but the storytelling is great. Interactivity is sparse but story-related, including lots of sound effects. The text is nicely narrated, although it doesn't highlight as read. The reading level is just right for young readers aged 6-8, with a nice sized, easy to read font. 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 …

The Berenstain Bears Bedtime Battle by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

The Berenstain Bears Bedtime Battle by Stan & Jan Berenstain was published in print for the first time in 1993. In this title Sister & Brother bear argue about bedtime with their parents, sluggishly picking up toys while whining about how unfair things are. Even when Father Bear tries to get the cubs to join in a race to pick up their room, the children are sullen and uncooperative.

In print, the title has received mixed reviews, including several on Amazon.com that point out that unlike many of the other Berenstain Bears' books, this one doesn't seem to have a clear moral. The young bears seem to win in the end, wearing their parents out rather than a typical ending where the whole Read more …

Flight of the Pamplemousse by Whynoceros LLC

Flight of the Pamplemousse is an original iPad tale told in rhyming verse about a boy who dreams about a mythical creature called the "Pamplemousse". He overhears a story half in French that includes a reference to grapefruit or 'pamplemousse' while he is falling asleep, causing him to imagine a fanatastic adventure with a giant Moose-like creature with wings.

This night-time dreaming adventure features beautiful, although almost hypnotic, narration in a crisp British accent. The story may be over many of the youngest readers heads, although my Kindergartner understood it best when I read it to him aloud with different pacing and emphasis, asking questions along the way. The app also Read more …

Goodnight Mo ~ 3D Interactive Pop-Up Book by StoryToys Entertainment Limited

Goodnight Mo, by Story Toys, is an enchanting interactive 3D pop-up book to help parents establish a night time bed routine. Mo’s routine gets more cozy and relaxed as the book progresses, from saying Good Night to the sun and the moon outdoors to listening to a lullaby after being tucked into bed with his Teddy. Every page is filled with objects and routines familiar to toddlers and preschoolers, and is a great way to introduce daily habits such as teeth brushing and potty, by having Mo as a model.

The routines appear non-threatening and may ease some more sensitive kid’s anxiety or resistance to transitions or in trying to pursue basic life skills. Going through each Read more …

Pillow Mountain by Van Winkle Studio LLC

The story is a short twelve pages of rhyming fun about a boy named Nolan who has a scary dream and decides to face his fears. The app is cleanly designed and clearly made for the littlest users but gives parents a nice list of settings to choose from. The app opens directly to the first page of the story and begins the narration unprompted. Narration is a calm-sounding woman that we all want to sound like when reading to our kids.

Pages are turned by pushing arrows and readers can go forward or backward at any time to pages. There is a button at the top that opens the page selection, settings, information and mute. Settings include the options to turn off or on all sound, button tap Read more …


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