A Fine Musician by The Trustee for the Tokeru Trust

"On a very fine day, ratta tat ratta tat. With his drum and his hat, ratta tat ratta tat. He came into town and he walked down the street as he drummed out a beat ratta tat ratta tat," begins this enchanting musical storybook for the iPad. It captures the romance of a walled European city in its sepia pages with tidy narrow streets, people milling about, bicyclists and street vendors. Yet the whole book feels modern in its own way. If you tap the menu bar below any page, you can even see the whole book laid out, page against page.  Look closely and you will see that it connects into a complete picture of the musician's walk through this lively little village.

This is not just a book Read more …

Piccadilly's Circus by Ink Robin, Inc

It’s storybook apps like Piccadilly’s Circus, by Developer Ink Robin, that make my job of reviewing apps fun!  I absolutely loved this story that is about one of my favorite subjects – the circus.  Mr. Piccadilly is the ringmaster of the circus troupe that includes a lion, bear, acrobats, tigers, etc.  One day, Mr. Piccadilly wasn’t feeling well and he couldn’t perform so they had to do the show without him.  Each of the animals and performers wanted to have this important job of being the ringmaster but who should do the job for the night?  Each person thought they should be the ringmaster and showed why their job Read more …

Juno's Musical ABCs HD by The Juno Company

Juno's Musical ABC's is one of the nicest ABC book apps in the App Store. Not only does it present the alphabet in a fun and engaging way but it simultaneously teaches about dozens of different musical instruments, sounds and musical concepts. It also features high-quality sounds to go along with every instrument introduced and delightful graphics of adorable felt characters. The narration is also lovely, and that familiar voice turns out to be none other than Brooke Shields.

Each page features a letter as well as simple interactivity that allows the child to touch the images on the page to see and hear the word (like applause, bassoon, clarinet, etc.) that is emphasized in that page's Read more …

Prancing Dancing Lily by Fat Red Couch, Inc.

Prancing, Dancing Lily is a universal book app and is based on a print book of the same name, written by Marsha Diane Arnold and illustrated by John Manders. Marsha is the award-winning author of eleven children’s picture books. Prancing, Dancing Lily is inspired by Marsha’s own childhood as she grew up on a farm with Ayrshire cows like Lily. The app also includes a puzzle section, and a scene selector that allows you to easily re-visit favorite pages. It contains no adverts or in-app purchases.

The story starts with an orderly herd of cows marching in for milking time, all except for Lily that is. Lily instead dances and prances about the pasture – Read more …

Two Left Feet by RESIN PTY LTD

An exceptional storybook in print has arrived in digital with just a little more enhancement than your typical book app ... meet Rufus, a sweet and hardly scary monster, created by author Adam Stower in print in 2004. In the paper version of this storybook, a well-crafted and beautifully illustrated title previously published only in Australia, the story of a little monster with two 'left' feet emerges. Basically, Rufus can't dance, but "as everybody knows, monsters just love to dance" and Rufus shows off his best efforts at the "Grand Ball". In the end, a girl (isn't it always a girl that saves our hero?) arrives on the scene to provide (spoiler alert!) her two 'right' feet for a dramatic Read more …

Barnyard Dance - Boynton by Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

Barnyard Dance is the latest Sandra Boynton board book brought to life by app developer Loud Crow Interactive of Vancouver, Canada. The book was originally written 20 years ago, and is the fourth Sandra Boynton Board Book produced by Loud Crow.  When you open the book it is just like you are flipping the pages of a board book, but with some surprises thrown in.

Before you even open the book you see it sitting on a table and you can play the instruments sitting beside it. You can opt to read it yourself or have it read by Bluegrass musician John Stey of Stookil Express.  Traditional hoedown music plays in the background and John calls out the moves as if Read more …

Olivia Acts Out by Polin8, LLC

Olivia is an adorable pig introduced to readers originally through the print books of Ian Falconer a decade ago. This digital title is adapted from a print book published in 2009, based on the more recent animated series from Nickelodeon. In this story Olivia has the chance to be in the school play but is disappointed that she is in a minor role. She handles it with grace and a bit of star power in the end.

The book is solidly made with swipe-style page turns and text in a drop-down box. The text is rather small and I would have liked to see highlighting as narrated, but I did appreciate that you could remove the text to see more of the whole picture. The app also contains an animated video Read more …

The Body Language of Veronica Sue by Black Dog Books, LLC

From the developer of the "Violet" series of book apps comes, Veronica Sue, a little frog who helps young children get in touch with their feelings and physical reactions to everyday events. Veronica is adorable and has a body that 'talks to herself' telling her more about how she feels. From sweating in the sun to feeling shy around new kids, this theme continues on over a dozen beautiful pages with light animation and interactivity.

This book also has lovely background music that pairs nicely with the expressive illustrations, athough it is on a rather short loop. The story itself has nice pacing that is made even better with the engaging narration (although it does not highlight as Read more …

Wenda the Wacky Wiggler- Interactive Storybook by Aslan Studios Inc

Wenda the Wacky Wiggler, by Aslan Studios, is a storybook app celebrating individuality and the pursuit of sharing happiness. Narrated by writer/producer Christopher Aslan and illustrated by Emily Mullock this winning team has put together a darling story stressing the values and importance of being oneself and not letting the negativity of others interfere with who you are.

The story begins with Wenda and what she does best – dance, laugh and wiggle with joy. It appears that she is in perpetual motion. This exceptional girl, who is always upbeat and not accepted in Gloomy Town, never loses site of who she is. When the gloomy people in the town stop Read more …

Papa's Boy by Tapisodes Ltd.

Papa's Boy is a beautifully hand-drawn digital book about a father coming to terms with his child's interests. The father mouse was a boxing hero (among mice) and wishes his son was more like him. The boy instead dances ballet, even wearing a pink tutu and pointe shoes as he pirouettes about his room. Papa laments that this wasn't how life was supposed to be as he stares at the trophies and posters of his own youth.

The little boy, however, shows how valuable his skills really are one day when Papa gets trapped by the cat that lives in the toy shop where they reside. The son twirls and jumps in perfect time to the player piano, distracting the cat and helping both his dad and himself escape Read more …