Magnus the Magnetic Dog by Julian Damy

Magnus the Magnetic Dog is a beautifully illustrated and charming story from Julian Damy, created with Demibooks Composer. This app is billed as the first title in a series and called, "A New Friend". In this touching story, we meet Magnus the dog and learn about his fear of storms. His bravery inexplicably sets in motion a series of events that lead him to be struck by lightning. This lovable terrier isn't hurt, however, but his life is definitely about to change in a big way! Not only does he become 'magnetic' and attract unwanted metal objects of every kind, but he also manages to attract something more rare - a true friend.

With very light but polished animation and story-enhancing Read more …

Bobo Explores Light by Game Collage, LLC

Bobo is a cute little robot that guides readers 6+ through a fascinating series of over 100 pages of facts, videos, physics demonstrations and interactive goodies relating to the science and history of the study of light. The app is thorough, educationally sound and deeply engaging. It is a non-fiction title with over 20 topic pages that open up three additional windows with so much content it will take you well over an hour to get through it all ... but you won't notice the time because this is such an absorbing book.

The beauty of this app is that it can be used in so many ways. You can explore the pages one by one, or jump to a topic you're interested in or are currently studying. Topics Read more …

Ice Is Nice! (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat) by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Young readers will love learning with Ice Is Nice!: All About the North and South Poles. This non-fiction title, published first in print in 2010, was created to give children ages 5-8 the chance to explore the animals, weather and unique geography at the top and bottom of the planet, 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 Read more …

Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry? (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat) by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Young readers will love learning with Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry? (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat). This non-fiction title, published first in print in 2011, 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 Read more …

If I Ran the Rainforest (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat) by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Young readers will love learning with If I Ran the Rainforest: All About Tropical Rain Forests (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat). This non-fiction title, published first in print in 2003, was created to give children ages 5-8 the chance to explore the exceptional diversity in the ecology of the rainforest, 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  Read more …

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by Moonbot Studios LA, LLC

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore was a short animated film released to critical acclaim in 2010. The gorgeous film comes to life in this digital book app in a way that might even top the film's reception. It's just that amazing, giving the reader an immersive experience that makes other book apps with 'Wow' factor pale by comparison. Developers should be warned that the team at Moonbot Studios has just raised the bar.

The story follows the adventures of Mr. Morris Lessmore, a rather sad little fellow who experiences great tragedy before re-discovering the magical world of books. Every page of his adventure is imminently touchable, even the storm that carries his grayscale Read more …

Flip: Interactive Storybook by Grids Interactive, LLC

When I first opened this book app, I thought to myself, "Move over Morris Lessmore, there's a new girl in town." Flip, by Grids Interactive, is just that innovative and refreshing, presenting a story that is slight in plot but heavy in spirit. Little Emma emerges in a dreary world where her narrative is not to her liking. So instead she rips a hot air balloon right from the page and flies away.

Breathtaking computer graphics in full 3D spring to life in every one of this title's very short seven scenes. The effects are simply awe inspiring, whetting the readers appetite for a big adventure. The only disappointment is that we get just the beginning of Emma's story, leaving the reader with Read more …

Leo the Lightning Bug by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

This is a charming story about a little lightning bug who is having a hard time finding his light. He is very frustrated, like any child wanting to do something grown up. His mother encourages Leo to be patient and feel good about himself, but he still struggles. No matter what he does, he just can't seem to light up. But despite teasing & feeling discouraged, the little bug keeps practicing, becoming triumphant one night during a thunder storm. In the end Leo discovers he has a bright, beautiful light (and that he is very brave).

This book was published in print in 2001 and has over a dozen 5 star reviews on Amazon.com that glow about the heart-warming story by Eric Drachman. It is Read more …

Auracle HD – Winter Is by Auryn, Inc

Cute storybook about the excitement of a chilly Northwest winter by Puget Sound native and Alaska resident, Ann Dixon. Wonderful educational enhancements are the main perk of Auryn Apps digital re-imagining of this 2002 print title. Words highlight as narrated word-for-word & interactivity is strictly informational. Tap any word in the text to hear the audio again or tap any image to hear and see the word. Color-drenched illustrations & nice page-layouts in this digital title make for one very nice seasonal read.

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly reviewed for a special post in our blog for the winter holidays, 2011.

Splish! Splash! Splosh! HD by Take 2 Ventures LLC

This is another beautifully illustrated title from Gina Ricci, author of Far to the North. Like her other digital book apps, this one is a short but beautiful tale. It is about a little girl named Sophie, her cat Sam and a lot of raindrops and puddles. It has all the trappings of a good children's picture book. It is filled with gorgeous illustrations and a sweet, lyrical story perfect for reading (or listening), even at bedtime.

Splish! Splash! Splosh! is also lightly animated and interactive, just enough to engage young readers without distracting from the story. Rain drops fall in most scenes and if you tap on the pictures, you can hear splashing or the meow of little Sam, Read more …

Snowflakes Are Falling HD by Take 2 Ventures LLC

Snowflakes are Falling is a simple storybook app about a young girl and her cat, and the adventures they have while playing in the snow. This is a beautifully illustrated story with distinct audio narration. Children will be enchanted by the falling snowflakes and the cute audio sounds when certain characters are touched on the screen.

PicPocket Books brings quality children's picture book literature to digital media. This interactive children's storybook app promotes early learning and helps your children develop reading skills by connecting the audio words and sounds with the written word on the page. This is a lovely picture book with audio recordings and interactive visual text, Read more …

Oh The Snowmanity! HD by David Gregory

Oh The Snowmanity! by David Gregory - Stoopid Books - is an original and unique winter tale about what it truly feels like to be a snowman. A great cheerful interactive book app, perfect to read along with your tweens (Kids aged 9 to 12) on those long winter snowy days! With stunning illustrations and lots of humour we are sure your kids will like it as much as ours!

This is an original, clever and funny storybook book app perfect for a great time reading with the kids! It offers an original rhyming story about what it may feel like to be a snowman… Nothing like in the movie as reality turns out to be fairly troublesome. We also liked the unique artwork and Read more …

Barefoot World Atlas by Touch Press LLP

Barefoot Books has transformed its World Atlas into a phenomenal learning tool! The app, brought to you by Touch Press, has been getting a lot of press and we wanted to see for ourselves what all the fuss is about. We learned that this interactive atlas is the result of a year-long partnership between award-winning children’s publisher Barefoot Books and Touch Press. Touch Press is behind six previous Apps of the Week, including Gems and Jewels, Solar System (for Japan and Germany), X is for X-ray, and March of the Dinosaurs.

Geography has been put on the back burner in some schools, while all the focus has been given to Math, Science, and English Language Read more …

The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

This story is great for year-round storytelling, emphasizing the message that being different can be a good thing. It’s about a square pumpkin that is sad at first because he can’t roll like the round pumpkins in the patch. But then a storm comes and being square has its advantages. After the storm, Spookley is celebrated instead of ridiculed for his difference.

This title is one of over a dozen titles briefly reviewed for a special post, "Enhanced Spookiness! Top 10 iPad Book Apps for Halloween"

Bartholomew and the Oobleck - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Bartholomew and the Oobleck, from Oceanhouse Media, was published by Dr. Seuss in print in 1949. It was named a Caldecott Honor Book in 1950, and is a sequel to The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. In this tale, young Bartholomew is tasked with saving the kingdom from "oobleck", a sticky goo that falls from the sky. According to Wikipedia:

"Geisel said he drew inspiration for the book from a conversation he overheard while stationed in Belgium during World War II. During a rainstorm, one of his fellow soldiers remarked, "Rain, always rain. Why can't we have something different for a change?"

This is also one of the rare Seuss books that is Read more …

Collins Big Cat: Playing Story Creator by Harper Collins Publishers Limited

The Collins Big Cat series was created in the past decade by UK based Collins Education, the third-largest educational publishing house in the United Kingdom, and an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. Playing, based on the print title by Tim Hopgood, was published in 2010. According to the description:

"It's fun to play outside, and these three children enjoy it in all seasons, summer, autumn, winter and spring - whatever the weather! Each season is evocatively illustrated by Tim Hopgood - 2008 winner of Booktrust's Best Emerging Illustrator Award, developing the text and encouraging discussion." [Source: Amazon]

In digital form, this series features light Read more …

Collins Big Cat: The Steam Train Story Creator by Harper Collins Publishers Limited

The Collins Big Cat series was created in the past decade by UK based Collins Education, the third-largest educational publishing house in the United Kingdom, and an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. The Steam Train based on the print title by Ian Whybrow, was published in 2009. According to the description:

"The steam train is pulling out of the station, it heads to the hills, into a rainstorm, through a tunnel and out the other side into the sunshine and to the seaside. Follow the rhythm and the rhyme of this simple poem and travel with the train on its wonderful adventure, beautifully illustrated by Rosalind Hudson." [Source: Amazon]

In digital Read more …

The Cloud Factory by Dalmatian Studios, INC

The Cloud Factory, from Dalmatian Studios, is an exceptional fine-art book app for children (and adults) with a whimsical storyline about a grandfather and his granddaughter. A smokestack pumps out black and white line-drawn clouds with delicate classical music in the background as the app is opened. Text can be hidden or shown (no highlighting) and readers are intricately involved in this interactive storyapp from the first page. Young readers will get to tilt the iPad to pour in milk, rip open a flour sack and dump cotton into a mixture that is designed to make "clouds".

The sketches appear, colorless but full of feeling, as a little girl, Luna, rides with her own small suitcase in hand. 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 …

Auracle – The Trees Grin Beside Me by Auryn, Inc

This is a poem-like story with light interactivity and unique personalization settings. It is told in the first person by a little girl who is exploring a forest. Images depict each of the seasons while the little girl compares her own body to the trees around her, seeing the connectedness of nature.

This book was published first in print in 2010 and features rhyming text by Michelle Macdonald. The trees are depicted with expressive faces that will appeal to kids in the richly colored illustrations by Leah Davis. Users can edit the text of the book to change it or rewrite the story in its entirety, as well as record their own narration. Each page can also be tapped to see Read more …

Elly Book 6 by Dipali Vaidya

The Elly books, by Jon Higham, have gotten a makeover! Each title now has the lovely narration of Rose Higham, "a drama student and the author’s niece." The text doesn't highlight as read, but it is otherwise perfect now for pre-readers. 

Elly the Reindeer is a cute cartoon-style reindeer. She has adventures with her animal friends in a sweet rural setting where all the child-like characters live in their own homes and look to each other for help, fun and solving the occasional dilemma. In this story Elly and her friends have a snowman building competition.

Elly can't decide what to make for the contest, but she admires all the snowmen her friends have created. When it suddenly Read more …

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Movie Storybook & Cloudy 2 Children's Activity Book by zuuka incorporated

Flint Lockwood dreams of becoming a great scientist and in this classic storybook app he discovers a way to make food rain from the sky. An intrepid reporter named Sam Sparks arrives to cover the news event, creating the perfect storm for a recipe that ends in romance. Since the publication in 1978 of this fabulous tale, young readers have been enthralled. This movie-themed app is not animated or interactive, but does feature crisp images from the film. It provides a simple reading (or listening) experience that will reinforce the movie or prepare young children for what to expect before going to the theater.

Fans of the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs series, will enjoy this title Read more …

OzBook by Slypot

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been made over in app form hundreds of times (from a quick review of the app store). What OzBook has to offer is a nice abridgment of the original Frank Baum classic with charming enhancements that draw children into the story. You'll find all the plot points nicely highlighted over 60 pages. The interactive & animated elements are so 'touchable' that you may even have to pause the reading because little hands are in the way of the text.

This title is not narrated, although it does come with English, Lithuanian, German & Russian text all in one app. The app has great sound effects and music, along with a nice page guide. Overall this is a solidly made Read more …

The Wee Adventures of Shabu Shabu - Book 1 - The Jade Legend by Steam Powered Productions Pte. Ltd.

The Wee Adventures of Shabu Shabu – Book 1 – The Jade Legend, by Steam Powered Productions, is a magnificent tome of a story app and the first in the series of eight books. Book 1 begins with a little Taiwanese rabbit who wants to follow her prestigious grandfather’s paw prints and be an inventor. The tinkering turns into many years, with the inspiration of getting to the moon to find the mysterious Jade Rabbit, similar to our version of the “Man in the Moon” concept. Shabu Shabu has always dreamed of joining her grandfather on his adventures, but instead spends her childhood cloistered in his lab because he is so overprotective of his granddaughter.

Read more …

Leafy, the Leaf Who Wouldn't Leave by KwiqApps Inc.

Leafy is a sweet little book about a leaf (with expressive eyes and mouth) that doesn't want to blow away in the Autumn with all the other leaves. He watches the world below and enjoys seeing so many things from up high. Eventually the wind does blow hard enough to detach him from his branch. He sees even more of the beautiful world by swirling on the breeze. And when a gust blows him into an open window, he finds a perfect place to rest in the scrapbook of a young boy who loves him.

This digital book is well made with simple settings, easy page turn with arrows, nice narration, and vibrant illustrations. My son really enjoyed reading this tale with me and it is a great choice for bedtime. Read more …

Aesop's Thinking: The Ants and the Grasshopper by Oddeye Co., Ltd.

This version of Aesop's The Ant & the Grasshopper is one of many digital books featuring Aesop's fables to debut on the iPad. There is a WIDE variation in the quality of digital book apps based on public domain stories like Aesop & Grimm Brother's tales. Many are not even narrated by native speakers or have syntax, grammar or other linguistic errors in the text of the stories.

This tale, however, is not only free (it's the first release in a series called Aesop's Thinking that retails currently for $4.99), but is also an excellent remake of the classic story. The wording is odd a couple times (the grasshopper will 'drop tears' instead of 'cry' if he doesn't prepare for winter, 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 …

North Wind by Random Universe LLC

This book is based on one of Aesop's Fables, The North Wind and the Sun. It is a tale about a contest between the sun and the wind to see who is more powerful. This version sticks to the traditional tale very closely and is nicely animated but in a minimalist way. The graphics are cartoon-like and appealing. The narration is clear, although it is often overshadowed by very intense classical music.

The story itself is easy enough to understand, but has an awkward-sounding quality to it, like it's a translation into English from another language. For instance the wind challenges the sun by saying, "When I blow wind, I can move clouds and blow leaves on the ground, but you can only make Read more …

Fiona & the Fog by William Poor

Set in San Francisco, this gorgeous storybook about a bored little girl exploring a foggy day is truly exceptional. It begins with Fiona wishing "something exciting would happen" and ends in a deeply satisfying way, after traveling the city following her wind-driven scarf. The landscape is vast and exceptional with mood-setting, meditative music that relaxes young and old readers alike. The digital settings are sparse but provide just enough to navigate this beautiful book. A perfect bedtime story awaits readers of this delightful storybook app!

Highly Recommended!

This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in Read more …

Oh Say Can You Say What’s the Weather Today? (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat) by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Young readers will love learning with Oh Say Can You Say What's the Weather Today? (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat). This non-fiction title, published first in print in 2004, was created to give children ages 5-8 the chance to explore the exciting world of weather and the study of it, meteorology. 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 …

Just A Big Storm - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
Just a Big Storm by Mercer Mayer is one of the latest Little Critter titles, published in print in 2013. In this title, Little Critter and his family prepare for and then go through a big storm. The digital version of this book also adds a new twist, keeping track as the young reader tries to find all 21 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 hedgehog, hamster or guinea pig." So, basically he's a rodent ... although a rather lovable one! Over 200 books have been released in this Read more …
Pico the Penguin - World Travel Adventures by Petita Demas by Petita Demas Ltd

Note: This is a Wordless Picture Book with limited narration. It is meant to be shared together with a young child.

Pico the Penguin is a simple, point-and-touch app for very young children, ages 2-5.  The object of the game is to lower Pico’s temperature in some very warm places, using imaginative ways to cool him down. It begins with a cute introduction, which is helpful the first time the app is opened.  Pico has the travel bug.  Your child joins him as he goes in search of new adventures, but he must be careful. Pico must stay cool, because after all, he’s a penguin. His journey starts when you choose a destination on the world map. 

At each Read more …


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