Sofia the First: Story Theater by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Sofia the First is a new character featured in a new Disney Channel television show out this year. She is the first princess specifically marketed to children as young as two, although anyone with a little girl will tell you that the Disney Princesses have already enchanted the toddler set without any help from little Sofia. Her story is very sweet, and thoughtful in many ways with a message about valuing what is on the inside, not the outside of a person and highlighting qualities like kindness, generosity, loyalty, honesty, and grace.

In this app, readers will find a full storybook with exceptionally polished animation and very nice interactivity that is relevant and well paced. Read more …

Cinderella – Nosy Crow animated picture book by Nosy Crow Limited

The much awaited second book from Nosy Crow is here and fans of their first book app, The Three Little Pigs, will not be disappointed. Cinderella captivates readers of all ages and brings even more interactivity to the classic tale of a girl, her fairy godmother & a mysterious glass slipper. You can help Cinderella tidy the house, dress the mean step-sisters for the ball, and even pick the pumpkin to be turned into a carriage.

Like their previous app, Nosy Crow has not forgotten a single detail in this delightful title, featuring adorable child actors for the voices of all the characters. You can scroll to see more of each page, with fun activities that include hunting for a cute little Read more …

Will & Kate by Ink Robin, Inc

New Update: Just in time for the royal baby, Ink Robin has updated their beautiful book app to extend the 'happily ever after' for the royal couple. Beautifully done and now a universal app. Read our original review from April 25, 2011:

"Once upon a time in a delightful country called England, there lived a young prince," begins Will & Kate: A Love Story, by Ink Robin. This is a truly modern fairy tale that takes full advantage of a modern medium. It is nicely interactive, narrated and lightly animated in a way that captures the sweet story of the royal "it" couple perfectly.

The illustrator's style, with several scenes of paper cut-outs on a photo-background, is especially Read more …

Brave: Storybook Deluxe by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Disney brings their film adaptation of Brave to life in this digital book, pairing animated clips from the feature film alongside a nicely abridged version of the movie's plot. This app is a real treat that includes much more than a book, providing lots of entertainment for young readers in the form of games, puzzles and coloring pages based on the hit movie, released this summer (2012). The story itself is inspirational, too, starring a princess named Merida that has a mind of her own when it comes to who she should marry.

My child, like most, loves Disney films, so he was delighted to see a few animated scenes from the movie interspersed throughout the book. This is one of the ways Read more …

The Little Mermaid - Auryn by Auryn Inc.

This digital book version of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson is based on the well-crafted translation by Anthea Bell with the breath-taking and ethereal illustrations of Lisbeth Zwerger. Anderson originally wrote the tale as a ballet in 1837. This picture book version was published in 1984 to rave reviews. It follows the original tale very closely, with no happy ending. The storytelling makes up for any disappointment, though.

This digital presentation takes an otherwise gorgeous print book and brings it to life. The story is told both underwater and above on land, with pages of the former that look and feel like they are actually submerged in the sea. The effect is Read more …

The Princess and the Frog Read-Along by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Disney brings the story of The Princess and The Frog to life in this ebook, pairing animated clips from the feature film alongside a nicely abridged version of the movie's plot. For lovers of princess stories, this app is a real treat that includes much more than a book, providing lots of entertainment for young readers.

Animated scenes from the movie are interspersed throughout this interactive title, making this storybook stand out from many of the other movie-themed book apps. The tappable sound effects & additional dialogue from the characters are also nicely tailored to expand on the story's plot. Learner readers will appreciate that the text highlights as read and parents will Read more …

Beauty and the Beast: Storybook Deluxe by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Disney brings the story of Beauty and the Beast to life in this ebook, pairing animated clips from the feature film alongside a nicely abridged version of the movie's plot. For lovers of princess stories, this app is a real treat that includes much more than a book, providing lots of entertainment for young readers.

Animated scenes from the movie are interspersed throughout this interactive title, making this storybook stand out from many of the other movie-themed book apps. The tappable scenes animate delightfully and are easy to find with hints, although page turns can be accidentally triggered when the interactivity is too close to the edges of the page (set to Young Reader Mode to Read more …

Frozen: Storybook Deluxe by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Disney brings their film adaptation of Frozen to life in this digital book, pairing animated clips from the feature film alongside a nicely abridged version of the movie's plot. This app is a real treat that includes much more than a book, providing lots of entertainment for young readers in the form of games, puzzles and coloring pages based on the hit movie, released this year (2013).

My child, like most, loves Disney films, so he was delighted to see a few animated scenes from the movie interspersed throughout the book. This is one of the ways this storybook stands out from many of the other movie-themed book apps available. This title also has a nice choice of settings, letting you Read more …

Tangled: Storybook Deluxe by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Disney brings their film adaptation of the Rapunzel story to life in this digital book, pairing animated clips from the feature film alongside a nicely abridged version of the movie's plot. For lovers of princess stories, this app is a real treat that includes much more than a book, providing lots of entertainment for young readers in the form of games, puzzles and coloring pages based on the Tangled movie.

My child loves this Disney film, so he was delighted to see a few animated scenes from the movie interspersed throughout the book. This is one of the ways this storybook stands out from many of the other movie-themed book apps available. This title also has a nice choice of Read more …

Disney Animated by Walt Disney

Disney Animated is the winner of this year's CYBILS Award. The judges were unanimous in choosing this exceptional title, saying:

Disney Animated brings to life the outstanding animation heritage of Disney Studios through the expertise of Touch Press, one of the most exacting and innovative developers in the app space today. Appealing to the entire family, Disney Animatedmeets all the criteria we seek in outstanding interactive media. The technical elements are impeccably rendered, the interactive elements are directly linked to the content, and the narrative content is endlessly fascinating. From stills to studies, animated shorts, soundtracks, interviews, and games that Read more …

The Pirate Princess ~ 3D Interactive Pop-up Book by StoryToys Entertainment Limited

StoryToys is, as far as I am concerned, the pioneer developer for 3D interactive pop-up books. I’ve seen other developers attempt to rip off some of their ideas to little avail. What I also appreciate about StoryToys is that they are continuing to tweak their format with new ideas and original stories. This app, the latest in their series, is more slick and visually impressive than the previous books, and they are really utilizing the iOS features to create excellent and engaging interactive books.

Strangebeard — The Pirate Princess is an interactive book with 3D pop-up pages full of mini-games which complement the storyline. The story is original and the plot Read more …

Cinderella - A Princess Story by One Hundred Robots

This digital version of Cinderella is retold based on one of the most popular versions of the fairytale, written by Charles Perrault in 1697. Perrault added the pumpkin, fairy-godmother and glass slippers to the classic tale, making this a very familiar rendition of the rags-to-riches story for modern audiences.

As an app, this book is very well made and has a nice page turning style with arrows that trigger 'scrolling' to the next scene by moving the perspective to another part of the house rather than simulating a traditional page turn. The app has several simple sound effects on each page and a few light animations throughout the story. Classical music also accompanies the Read more …

iStory Anna, the Princess Rose by Apps Of All Nations LLC

This short but sweet story is about a princess who lives in a kingdom full of rose bushes that bloom year-round. Princess Anna is trying to get one particularly stubborn bush to bloom when she falls asleep. What happens when she wakes up is a fragrant mystery. This simple storybook is not enhanced with animation but does have a unique and engaging interactive interface. Every page includes a selection of stickers to add more detail to the scene. The stickers are delightful, featuring the same expressive and quirky illustrations that make this book a visual treat for readers ages 4-8. There is no page guide or highlighting and several links that leave the app, but other options are Read more …

Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Really BIG Adventure by Egmont UK

Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Really BIG Adventure is an amazing digital offering, adapted from a 2009 award winning print title for readers age 4-8. It features small animated touches and fun interactivity. The real treat, though, can be found in Stephenson's gorgeous illustrations and story, narrated engagingly by Michael Maloney. In print, this book was shortlisted for the Red House Children’s Book award and a winner of the Practical Pre-School Bronze medal.

The 5-star reviews at Amazon.com from readers just reinforce the book's literary reception. Charlie is a little boy with a wild imagination. He ventures into a scary castle to find a little princess having a Read more …

Princesses Learn Chinese - Snow White by early languages llc

This free app comes with one storybook, Snow White, and lots of extras to go along with it. The story itself is not especially enhanced, although it is a very unique app overall. The goal of the app is to "expose children to their first Mandarin Chinese words and expressions, through stories, games and songs."

The storybook itself is a nice, traditional version of the fairytale about a girl who runs away from her evil (and vain) step-mother to live with a bunch of dwarves. There are some lightly interactive elements like tapping on images to hear sound effects (e.g. birds chirping and dialogue in English & Mandarin). What really stands out is the way the story intersperses Chinese Read more …

Papa Gatto by PicPocket Books

"Long ago, in a time when it was not unusual for animals to speak ..." begins Papa Gatto, a richly illustrated Italian folktale. It is a heart-warming "Cinderella" style story, originally published in print in 1995.  It features an elegantly written re-telling by author/illustrator Ruth Sanderson, who's lavish oil paintings are matched only by her exquisite storytelling abilities. The reviews at Amazon.com for the print title bear this out with a 5 star average.

But this fairytale ends with the heroine turning down the marriage offer, or at least post-poning it. In a twist on traditional fairytale messages, the book ends on an empowering note for young Read more …

Babel, the King - EPIC animated storybook by EPIC Web Agency Sprl

Babel, The Cat Who Would Be King is a stunning new book from EPIC, where 'every pixel counts' (and it shows). Told in English or French, this must-download app weaves a tale about an ambitious cat, a sly caged bird and a castle built to touch the sky. Full of political intrigue, plot twists and charming characters, this beautifully illustrated title is one of the most unusual and enjoyable apps to come across my screen in a long time. It even features subtle literary allusions (especially to the biblical Tower of Babel) in a way that will have both adults and children riveted from the first page to the last. The story, music and polished production values for all the Read more …

Sassy Cassie HD by Take 2 Ventures LLC

Sassy Cassie is spunky and creative and nothing is going to stop her from making her mark on the world. Her surprise artistic creation at the end of the book is exasperating, but also lovable. PicPocket Books brings quality children's picture book literature to digital media. Now, children can enjoy their favorites stories on-the-go, even when they do not have a physical book to read.

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. PicPocket Books offer a unique and new experience, combining the beauty of quality picture books with audio Read more …

Fancy Nancy Dress Up by Bean Creative

Do you know a little girl who would like to play dress up with Fancy Nancy? Based on the 2005 Jane O'Connor title that held the top spot on the New York Times Bestseller list for almost 100 weeks, this app is an exceptional offering for creative play. A very short story about a party little Nancy is attending is included, but the real highlight is the free-form dress-up playtime this app provides.

The app has a very nice set of directions under "How to Play". This explains that there are five slots to save images to, within the app. Each of these pictures can be created with lots of choices including different backgrounds, stamps of items to place around the scene and lots of dress-up Read more …

Royal Little Pest HD by Take 2 Ventures LLC

I really enjoyed A Royal Little Pest written by Anita Reynolds MacArthur and illustrated by Karen Roy. This is a great example of how a fun storybook app can teach little ones about the benefits of positive behavior. The story starts out with us being introduced to Prince Hayden MacCheeky who is a real little prince who lives with his royal brother and sister, parents and royal dog, Goober, in their royal castle. Prince Hayden MacCheeky loves to play around with his brother and sister but not necessarily the way they would like to him to play with them.

You see – Hayden is a bit of a pest and can’t understand why his siblings don’t like to play with him. One Read more …

Does the Queen Brush Her Teeth? by Red Roar Apps

This is a really fun story that is told in the first person by a young girl named Tilly McKnee. She is having tea with the Queen [of England] one rainy day. Suddenly her eyes are drawn to the Queen's teeth and she thinks to herself, "Arghhhhhhhhh the Queen has yellow teeth!" This begins a story where Tilly daydreams about whether or not the Queen brushes her teeth.

Tilly's imagination goes from silly to absurd as she imagines the Queen with tiny servants on ladders in her mouth, people wearing coats made of fur cut off the Queen's teeth and other flights of fancy. The illustrations are colorful and cartoon like in a way that fits the tongue-in-cheek story very well. Almost every Read more …

Ziggy's Present - Picture Puzzles by ImproVive

Ziggy is a little palace dog who can be found in a series of stories about "Princess Arabella" by Mylo Freeman, a Dutch author/illustrator. Published in print over the past decade, these titles feature detailed hand-drawn scenes that lend themselves nicely to a hidden object search. This series also does a nice job portraying racial diversity, with the little princess and royal court shown with dark skin.

One of the stories, Princess Arabella wants to play, is now also available as an app. Ziggy's Present is based on this series, although it has a very limited storyline. It makes up for this with lots of replay value within the eight interactive 'puzzle pages'. Little Ziggy has to figure Read more …

The Snow Queen Musical Children's Interactive Storybook Adventure by Phantom 5 Music Group

This is a theatrical presentation of a much-loved fairy tale that feels like a cross between Disney and Japanese animé. It has exceptional production values, five full musical scenes and exquisitely detailed illustrations. The Snow Queen, published in 1845 by Hans Christen Andersen, is about a fight between good and evil. It features two children (a boy and a girl) named Kai & Gerda. While this story is one of the longest fairy tales in Andersen's collection, it is also considered by critics as one of the best, despite being a less familiar tale for many American readers. [See synopsis tab for the full plot.]

As a digital book, this app is well-made with ample settings Read more …

Disney Princess: A Royal Christmas by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

This is a solidly made book app, featuring three popular princesses from the Disney films. Cinderella, Ariel & Tiana are each featured in one of three storybooks within the app. A print version of this book was published in 2010 and included a 4th story about Aurora. The app is lightly animated with fun interactive elements that go along nicely with the simple but satisfying storylines. The app also contains puzzles and coloring pages which can be accessed from within the app's pages or through a menu on the title page. Fans of Disney Princesses won't want to miss this title.

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly reviewed for a special post in our blog for the winter Read more …

Picture Book: Princess Bouncerella by Orange Books

Princess Bouncerella isn't your run-of-the-mill, minds-her-manners kind of princess. She picks her nose, makes big messes and likes to take long baths in a tub filled with cotton candy. In an attempt to curb her of the nose picking, the king decrees that it will be outlawed and anyone caught digging into their nose will be punished severely, with some surprising consequences. The title is very lightly animated with a few fun touch points per page. The hand sketched illustrations are expressive, pairing well with the storyline's sense of humor. Simple but intuitive settings, including a page guide, let readers choose to hear the story in English, Spanish, Dutch or German.

While I liked Read more …

Longlegs and the Pirate With No-Nose by Terra dei Colori - S. C. Sociale a R.L.

Longlegs and the Pirate with No-Nose by developer Terra dei Colori Edizioni, is a storybook app developed for older children featuring a terrible pirate and a monster who wants to right his wrongs.  The story of Rakam, nicknamed No-Nose, comes alive in this interactive app.

Longlegs and the Pirate with No-Nose is a lengthy interactive storybook app appropriate for older children.  It tells the story of Rakam, nicknamed No-Nose, who kidnaps a baby from a princess.  He decides to feed the baby to the alligators that he raises on his magical island called Calabi-Yau.  After being saved by the first mate, the baby's story is spread far and wide by the animals of Read more …

Cinderella HD - SO by So Ouat

Cinderella HD is a nicely abridged retelling of the classic tale of an oppressed step-daughter who triumphs with the help of her fairy godmother. The highlight of these titles when presented by So Ouat! is the animated storytelling. Characters in the book act out the scenes from each page. There isn't anything interactive about the illustrations, although tapping the screen does stop and start the narration (which highlights as read).

The only true interactivity present in this book is in the 'extra' - a unique drop down of each page's text that can be explored with several words highlighted. Tap on any of these words to get either a definition or image to help young readers Read more …

Disney Storytime by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

This storybook app is a collection of titles based on Disney animated classics. The initial app comes with three titles (Monsters Inc., Tangled & Toy Story). Each book is a basic retelling of the plot of the movie with little embellishment. There is nice narration (with highlighting), music and recordable narration options, along with other easy-to-use settings, although page guides would be a nice addition. Children will enjoy their favorite movies in book form, but don't expect lots of bells & whistles. There is no animation, extras and only very limited interactive sound effects, which can be turned off in the settings menu. Note: Contains ads & links for in-app purchase Read more …

Grimm's Frog King by JustKidsApps - Katrin Draemann Barothy

Grimm’s Frog King includes two versions of the traditional folktale from the Grimm brothers in both German and English.  One is presented with a straightforward retelling of the story – the other includes some modifications as suggested by a co-moderator, a young girl who is sure to interject her own thoughts, criticisms and feedback to the story in the funny version (complete with alternate ending and a froggy family photo album).

The book includes lovely detailed illustrations by artist Vivianne Dommann that include tappable audio spots with sound effects and additional dialogue.  The pictures can also be zoomed to explore details (but audio doesn’t work Read more …

Rolling Pea by KievSeaPirates

Note: Contains (still) Ad for Mazda Cars upon opening app, sponsor website accessible under parental 'gate'.

Rolling Pea, developed by KievSeaPirates and illustrated by Ivan Sulima, is an Eastern European folk tale from the Ukraine. This handsomely illustrated chronicle features a determined little boy named “Rolling Pea” who grows up to have amazing strength and embarks on a quest to rescue his brothers and sisters from a dungeon guarded by the fierce dragon. The story has spectacularly detailed artwork which is combined with subtle and detailed interactivity, fabulous sound effects and original music, all making 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 …

Princess Dress-Up: My Sticker Book by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

This Disney Princesses sticker book has been a chart topper, and now it actually deserves a download. Very nice update! It's still not a traditional storybook, but it now has at least a short story for each princess and you can dress her up from head to toe (they added shoes!). Now your child can also see the princess in all her accessories and take her picture fully dressed. They even added another princess, Tiana. These changes should make a lot of little princesses (and their parents) very happy!

This little app in the 'books' category is really more of an 'entertainment' title - like digital paper dolls in sticker-book form. It features the very popular Disney Princesses, six in all Read more …

Magic Thumbelina by Oleksandr Pogrebniak

Magic Thumbelina is a gorgeously illustrated version of the classic children's story about a little 'thumb' sized girl who goes on a journey among the small creatures of the forest. She meets frogs, a mouse, a mole (whom she almost marries), a swallow she nurses back to health and finally, a forest elf who turns out to be a prince (whom she does marry, of course).

This digital title is lightly animated and interactive with high quality music throughout. It is not narrated and is a bit difficult to read aloud smoothly for want of a bit of polishing in the text. The story follows the tradtional tale but seems to have been poorly edited, missing prepositions and displaying some interesting Read more …

Karl's Castle HD by Ravensburger Digital GmbH

Note: This book contains no narration & limited amounts of text for instructions, making it a good choice for a 'wordless' picturebook in digital. Wordless titles like this have been unique but essential, even in print, for eliciting children's own storytelling and expressive language development.

Karl’s Castle  is an interactive picture book for young children from by Ravensburger Digital. It is available in both iPhone and iPad versions, this review is of the iPad version. It contains no adverts or in-app purchases. It does contain app store and social media links behind a parental gate.

Although Karl’s Castle is in the book section of the app store it is Read more …


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