Timmy Tickle by Harriet Pellereau

Timmy Tickle is a short, but sweet digital book app for the youngest readers and listeners. A simple story about an adorable octopus is accompanied by stunning 3-D computer animation. Timmy wears roller skates, plays dress up and even does the dishes (although he does break quite a few). The story explores numbers, colors, and musical notes among other early learning topics.

In the latest update, Timmy has gotten a lot of new enhancements to his storybook, including a change in the text to make it more engaging for young readers. There are also nice sounds to let children know when they have completed the interactive elements correctly on each page, making this title intuitive enough even Read more …

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 …

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 …

Penelope HD by Take 2 Ventures LLC

Penelope the Purple Pirate is a wonderful story for kids about a little girl who doesn't want to take a nap, so while stuck in her room, she dresses up and then imagines she is a pirate out at sea. She wears a purple sash and has friends among the sea animals. She rides on the back of the turtle to find an island and search for treasure. When she 'returns' from her adventure she is ready for her nap (tired from all her travels, perhaps?).

This book features simple narration with a tiny bit of animation, like sparkles around the treasure. The sound effects that were added in the update are really nicely spread out, with something 'hidden' on nearly every page. They are things like splashing 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 …

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 …

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 …

Goosed Up Rhymes HD by Brain Freeze Entertainment

According to Wiktionary.org & my handy bookmark at Thesaurus.com, to goose-up is "to boost or take steps to make something appear more attractive, to increase or augment." And Goosed-up Rhymes could not have been more appropriately named. It is an app that is so packed with games, tappable interactivity and hidden surprises that I emailed the developer to be sure I hadn't inadvertently missed something. I usually spend a few hours with an app, but this one took twice the normal time to review, simply because it has more than twice the content of a typical book app.

The book is broken into 8 'pages' with each nursery rhyme presented as a full multi-media event. 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 …

AlphaBELCH - A Children's Book About Burps by Stephen White

AlphaBELCH is just what it says it is, "A Noisy A-to-Z Book About Animals Who Burp", but it is also much more! This title, originally created for the iPad, is full of really fun animals with a button on every page to hear them burp. A second button on every page can be tapped to hear the text narrated. This means if you want you can easily read this without narration. The narrator is great though, so either way this is great alphabet book, with all the educational value that parents expect. 

It also has something kids love - the chance to laugh at funny sounds of bodily functions. And they are really funny and unexpected, like the fish that burp underwater and the firefly with Read more …

The Deep Blue Kingdom by Imaginatronics LLC

This educational app is filled with over a dozen detailed, educational descriptions of sea creatures. In a window on each page, there is a deep sea video showing the animal in its natural ocean environment. The videos play silently with background noise of scuba diving, mostly bubbles and gentle splashing. Videos can be seen in full screen mode with a quick two finger gesture, although the image is less clear in the larger view.

Each page is narrated in a crisp, clear voice. I found the narration nice enough, but it was a little too enthusiastic in a way that becomes grating on the listener over time. The book is extremely educational though, and my son and I were fascinated by the variety 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 …

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