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 …

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 …

Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island - Interactive Book App for Kids by Treasure Bound Books Pty Ltd

Kai is a 10 year old boy with a wild imagination and a love of history and treasure. He lives above his parents' treasure shop and the illustrations of this store were so detailed that I could almost imagine being able to play a 'hidden object' game within the page. Tapping on any one of dozens of items elicits high quality sound effects at every turn in the shop's shelves. And we haven't even gotten to the heart of this book - the treasure hunt itself.

This digital book has wonderful interactive sounds and lots of things to touch on every page. One of my son's favorites was the lamp that Kai gets as a birthday gift. It has a shade that looks like a globe and tapping on it turns Read more …

Otter on His Own - Smithsonian Oceanic Collection by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Otter on His Own is a lovely little title from 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 2011 along with an audio CD, revising an older Soundprints title from 1995. As an OM book published for mobile devices in 2012, 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 Read more …

Around the World with Lilup by Mythos Machine LLC

Lilup is a dog that is so fluffy he just floats away one day. On his journey, he visits many parts of the world by flying over and then gently landing to visit the wild animals below. Then he returns home to rest & dream of his adventures. He soars in the sky with birds, glides over ice, plays with several animals, splashes in the water and even joins in on a hunt.

Many of these adventures offer the reader the chance to interact with Lilup or the other animals by tapping or tilting the device. The scene with the penguins sliding on the ice and then 'huddling' together were my little boy's favorites, always making him giggle. None of these interactions are especially animated, but Read more …

The Trip Little Critter Reading Adventure by Baker & Taylor, Inc.

Based on Mercer Mayer's original illustrations of the "Critter" family on a road trip, The Trip: Little Critter Reading Adventure, is truly just that - a reading adventureWhile adults delight in the familiar characters and storyline, a whole new generation of Little Critter fans is virtually guaranteed with engaging apps like this one, created by Silver Dolphin Books.

Mayer originally wrote "The Trip" as an ABC style book in 1988 before its more familiar edition in 1997 that edited it down significantly. This app is based on the later edition, with wonderful enhancements that take young readers ages 2-6 on more than just a figurative adventure, by 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 …

Surf Angel by Grids Interactive, LLC

From the creators of the 5-Star hit, The Truly Great Noodle, we have another lovely app from Grids Interactive. This one is very different, though. It is an ethereal title about a fairy that surfs in the night sea, looking out for danger while children sleep and sea life frolic. Told in well-crafted rhymes with very light animation but no other enhancements, this is a perfect title for bringing sweet dreams after pajama storytime.

This title is solidly made and has nice settings that even allow you to record your own narration. The narration that comes with the book is nice, although a bit soft, making it difficult to hear in a noisy environment. Sound effects in the background (of ocean Read more …

RealPinocchio - interactive book HD Full by Andrey Alexandrovich

There are many versions of the story of Pinocchio and his adventures in the app store (and in print), but this one is special in the same way as the popular Alice for iPad app, providing young kids 8 and up, with a version that is accessible for modern readers and also nicely crafted for their reading level (4th-6th grade). This title is not narrated, however, which was fine for Alice when it launched with its impressive and fun physics-based interactive elements in 2010, but two years later, this approach to a public domain storybook seems incomplete without a "read to me" option.

Very fun interactive elements enhance this app nicely, including lots of story-related additions that can Read more …

Coastal Quest by Hamson Design Group Pty Ltd

Ready to explore? Head to the beach in this fun title for readers 4-8. Like Barnyard Mystery, this 2nd app from Hamson Design Group has a structure that allows your child to 'choose their own adventure' with a picture book that is slightly different each time it is read. Told in rhyming verse, the app also inserts the child's name into the story, personalizing this tale about exploring the seaside.

The app is also lightly animated and interactive, with lots of things to tap. Most of the enhancements are not particularly tied to the storyline, but they are certainly fun. While this is a nice title and solidly built overall, it really needs the addition of a page guide and/or home 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 …

Wild Kratts World Adventure by PBS Kids

Wild Kratts World Adventure is a game and science app by PBS Kids.   It based on the hit animated series Wild Krattswhere two brothers, Chris and Martin Kratt, take children on an adventure to discover and learn about animals in the wild. The app is designed for children aged 4-8 years old.

 

In Wild Kratts World Adventure, children will learn about the woodpecker, the dolphin, and the orangutan.  It all begins with a game where children get to become one of the animals.  As a woodpecker, they will compete against another woodpecker named Headbanger in pecking for beetles.   As a dolphin, they will swim and clean up trash in the ocean while avoiding 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 …