The Artifacts by Dan Hare

"Once there was a boy who loved to collect," begins this unique digital book. Asaf is an enigma to his family, amassing so many objects that it borders on hoarding. When the family prepares to move to a new house, his parents get rid of everything Asaf has collected, everything he loves. This begins a new chapter for the young man, one of collecting dreams, ideas and knowledge.

When the family arrives in their new home, Asaf's mother & father tell him, "This is your new bedroom. Keep it tidy." This act of parental misunderstanding and betrayal is experienced by Asaf in scenes that perfectly convey the darkness and rebellion of adolescence ... with handwritten words appearing Read more …

My Incredible Body - Guide to Learn About the Human Body for Children - Educational Science App with by Zybright LLC

What do my insides look like? How does my brain work? Why does my heart beat? What happens to my food after I swallow it? Children are naturally curious about their bodies, and if you are a parent, chances are you have been asked questions like these. My Incredible Body by Zybright, sister company of award winning developer Visible Body, answers all these questions and more by taking children on a journey inside the human body.

Through the use of beautiful, detailed, and medically correct 3D renderings of the human anatomy, children will be able to learn about their bodies like never before. They will be able to go on a self-guided tour or an app guided tour of the body and make virtual 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 …

Sound Uncovered by Exploratorium

If you loved Color Uncovered, you won't believe your ears when you hear that there is another stellar free title from San Francisco's Exploratorium. This exceptional educational app series has everything a young scientist could want ... tons of cool facts, stunning visuals and interactive features that let you experiment with your own ears.

While not narrated or enhanced with animation, this non-fiction app is a great addition to any digital library for children ages 8 and up. Adults will even find this app full of new insights and information about the science of sound. This title is also solidly made with simple page turn by swiping and nice navigation with a thumbnail page Read more …

Starting Shakespeare by Beyond the Backyard Productions Pty Ltd

Starting Shakespeare, by Deeper Richer, is a brilliant new addition to the app store; this 21st century rendition would make William proud. This app does what most teachers fail to do, make Shakespeare easily accessible to younger students and clarify the story-lines without ever giving up any of Shakespeare’s original integrity.

Starting Shakespeare explores both the world and work of William Shakespeare using two of his best-loved and most popular plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth. I admire this Australian based development team for producing this state of the art teaching tool and hope to spread the word far and wide. Get this this one out to the kids! Read more …

X is for X-Ray (iPad) by Touch Press LLP

With titles for older readers like The Elements, The Wasteland, The Solar System, March of the Dinosaurs and more, Touch Press has a reputation for innovative apps that take exploration to a whole new level. X is for X-Ray is no exception, showcasing the ABCs in a unique way that goes beyond the usual alliteration found in alphabet books. It's truly a book that a child could enjoy at 4 and again at 14 for totally different reasons.

The cover page is an A-Z list of images that bounce, spin and make noise to attract tapping fingers. Start anywhere, from Accordion to Zipper, or page through the objects alphabetically using a nice guide that appears at the bottom. To see each item, simply tap Read more …

Midnight Feast by Dan Hare

Midnight Feast is another exquisite tale from the creators of The Artifacts. Complex and hauntingly beautiful, the story follows the night-time imagination of a young teen who longs to stay up past her bedtime for what she pictures is a vast banquet. Gorgeous illustrations and beautifully paced interactive dialog create an immersive reading experience for readers ages nine and up. Polished production values, thoughtful settings and the inclusion of close reading notes round out this stellar new title.

Tapping is not so much for exploring randomly in this app but an extension of the reading experience. Your fingers absorb part of the story by unlocking it, deepening your understanding of the Read more …

Middle School Confidential 3: What’s Up with My Family? by Electric Eggplant

The third title in the Middle School Confidential series is now available for the iPad. This remarkable series is a must read for tweens & teens and a 'must download' for parents, educators and other concerned adults who want the young people in their lives to manage the typical struggles of adolescence just a little bit better. This series is really unique, offering something rare in the App Store; it's polished and well-crafted to the adult eye, but more importantly, teens will relate and enjoy the graphic novel format.

Many of my fans may not realize I am new to the world of children's literature, but if I am an expert in anything, it is actually teens. I spent the past two decades Read more …

Middle School Confidential 2: Real Friends vs. the Other Kind by Electric Eggplant

The next title in the Middle School Confidential series is finally available for the iPad. This remarkable series is a must read for tweens & teens and a 'must download' for parents, educators and other concerned adults who want the young people in their lives to manage the typical struggles of adolescence just a little bit better. This series is really unique, offering something rare in the App Store; it's polished and well-crafted to the adult eye, but more importantly, teens will relate and enjoy the graphic novel format.

Many of my fans may not realize I am new to the world of children's literature, but if I am an expert in anything, it is actually teens. I spent the past two Read more …

Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are by Electric Eggplant

I don't review a lot of books for older readers, but this graphic novel release of the 1st book in the Middle School Confidential series is really a stunning offering in the App Store. It isn't narrated, but even younger kids will enjoy having the stories read to them. I think many elementary age children will relate to the topics, like self-consciousness, bullying, stress, fitting in, sticky issues in friendships and learning to like yourself.

The book is developmentally perfect for tweens & teens, but the content was even appropriate for my preschooler (although some of the concepts were over his head). It is even an entertaining read & nice refresher for adults, since these Read more …

Cool to be Clever: Edson Hendricks by Trelawny Consulting Group Ltd.

Based on the print title, published in 2011, this book app is an inspirational read for kids ages 8 and up. It is absolutely packed with top notch educational content, presented in an intuitive app that is polished and engaging. Text can be read or listened to, although the reading level is roughly for ages 8-12+. The print title retails for nearly $20, so this app is also an exceptional value. Older readers, including adults, will enjoy the history, science and inspirational messages found in this digital book. 

The structure of this app is fun to explore, with sections that include videos, music and narrated segments about topics like bulling, how the Internet was invented Read more …

The Elements: A Visual Exploration by Element Collection

Students learning about the periodic table will want this app on their iPad. It's a must-download for schools, libraries and anyone creating a reference list for the best apps for studying chemistry. Since April 2010, this app has continued to be a popular and often copied app-style for education. A solid scientific app for students! Our highest recommendation.

This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.

One Globe Kids – children’s stories from around the world by Round by Design LLC

One Globe Kids – children’s stories from around the world, by Round by Design, has found a unique and undiscovered niche in the educational market and we think that they are onto something big! Children can “visit” friends from around the world and learn how different cultures operate. There are a total of eight friends at this time: Gabou and Valdo from Haiti, Jenissa from Burundi, Floor and Lars from The Netherlands, Luna and Lucian from NYC, and Aji from Indonesia.  The developer,Anne Glick, plans to be adding more friends periodically and has two in the works right now. Each child tells their story of life, in a typical day format. The Read more …

Make A Song by Gorilla Band 2 - 3D story book with Music by Wasabi Productions Pty Ltd

Are you looking for an app with stunning 3D graphics and the ability to wow young readers? Well, look no further. The gorillas are back and they're making more music with the inspiration of their natural environment. From lightning to rain and even the fluttering of insects, these young musicians find sounds they can mimic and enhance with their own instruments. This tale begins with Pricilla Gorilla, who is upset when her portable music player has dead batteries. How can she listen to music now? The music teacher has an idea, "Music's always around you, wherever you go. It's the wind in the trees and the flutter and flap. It's the sound of the jungle - there's music in Read more …

Big Nate: Comix By U! HD by Night & Day Studios, Inc.

From Night & Day Studios comes a truly exceptional app for creativity. Fans of Lincoln Pierce's "Big Nate" series will not be disappointed by this full-featured comic book creation app. My seven-year old is a recent fan of these stories, about a 6th grade boy and his friends. Familiar scenes from school and home draw young readers into this fun series, ideal for upper elementary school and early middle school readers, especially boys.

Parents should know that this app does not include a lot of reading content, but is instead intended to inspire your young storytellers to create their own simple narratives in comic-book fashion. The app has a half dozen examples of the Big Nate comic Read more …

Loose Strands: Unlockable Edition by Darned Sock Productions Inc

Loose Strands, by DarnedSocks Productions, is a choose-your-own-adventure style story app with dozens of different possible adventures. This imaginative tale is about a boy who is trapped in world where he can never go outside and everything (and I do mean everything) is made of hair from the family's barber shop. Tween readers can be picky about what they want to read and difficult to motivate, so you can try out this app for free (for iPad), with a sample chapter. The rest of the book can be unlocked to the full storybook by an in-app purchase, which is very worthwhile for a title that has nearly 2000 pages. The full storybook app is also available separately as a paid app for iOS, Kindle 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 …

Shout Science! by Scott Dubois

Shout Science! by teacher, Scott Dubois, is a cool new app that engages kids in scientific discovery in a fun and engaging format. Shout Science! is a wonderful tool for teachers to educate kids about the scientific revolution, which took place in Europe beginning in the 1500’s. But – Heads Up, this app offers many features that could be applied to other subject areas so don’t let the title limit you! Geography, reading, math, and the arts, are all incorporated into the three narrative biographies of some of the earliest scientists. Shout Science! is the type of app that any teacher will love to illustrate an array of different ideas and skills.

Teachers With Apps Read more …

Color Uncovered by Exploratorium

"WE WELCOME HUE" begins this unbelievably cool, free app from San Francisco's Exploratorium. This exceptional educational app has  everything a young scientist could want in an app ... tons of cool facts, stunning visuals and interactive features that let you experiment with your own eyes.

While not narrated or involving any sound or animation, this non-fiction app is a great addition to any digital library for children ages 8 and up. Adults will even find this app full of new insights and information about the science of color. The app is also solidly made with simple page turn by swiping and nice navigation with a page guide at the bottom of every screen.

Find out why Monet was like Read more …

Walking with Dinosaurs: Inside their World by M5859 Studios Pty Ltd

As far as children are concerned, dinosaurs are right up there with pony rides, no bedtime, and unlimited ice cream. So naturally, you’ve gotta do dinosaur story times. And what could be better than an app that shows these amazing creatures in action? Not much. In my story time last week, the app BBC Earth: Walking with Dinosaurs made them come to life and the children went nuts.

The home page of the app has three different options. “Features” provides different screens with general information about dinosaurs and their environment, the different periods (Jurassic, etc.), famous discovery sites, how fossils are formed and excavated, and divisions of dinosaurs. Read more …

This Book Is About To Explode by Reuben Mildren

This title is more game than book, but otherwise fabulous, featuring a dozen pages of fun bombs readers can set up and then watch explode before piecing a complex puzzle back together. The star of the brief storytelling is a robot named Tiki-Zin3 who is searching the universe for alien life. After many pages of patient exploration and repairs, the robot is greated by an act of friendship. The overall design and implementation of the games is intuitive and well-crafted, but as a storybook this app lacks significant narrative intrigue to draw young readers beyond the interactive puzzles.

The games themselves are brilliant, engaging young and old alike in a series of steps to solve Read more …

Jabberwocky 3D by Mythos Machine LLC

In 1872, Lewis Carroll wrote Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (a sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland). Part of this novel was Jabberwocky, a poem considered by many to be the finest English language 'nonsense' poem ever written. Nonsense verse is "light, often rhythmical, (and) usually for children ... depicting peculiar characters in amusing and fantastical situations" according to Wikipedia.

In educational settings, this poem is often a useful tool for building language skills and inspiring creative writing assignments. Examples range from using Jabberwocky to teach creative writing to middle schoolers,  Read more …

The Mighty League Vol 1 - The Terrible Taunting - A Blackfish Children's Book by Customizabooks LLC

The Mighty League Vol. 1 — The Terrible Taunting is a great introduction to the way an individual with Asperger's Syndrome looks at the world. Its lesson about the need to stop bullying is so important and much-needed, and I am really glad Jonathan and Molly Murphy, with the help of their parents, used this interactive book app to raise awareness and teach great life lessons.  

The story follows JMan through an adventure at school.  As you move through the story, the words become red as they are spoken by the narrator, the real JMan.  I love this because it makes it easy for kids to follow along with the words.  There is only a limited Read more …

Kung Fu Robot by Propaganda3, Inc.

This graphic-novel style app presents an entirely unique and deeply engaging story for older readers, ages six and up. iTunes categorizes this app as 9+ for "Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence" but I tend to agree with this review from one of my favorite sites, SmartAppsforKids.com, by Heather Hetler: "Kung Fu Robot is violent by using nunchucks against chunky peanut butter and swatting away ninjas (from stealing his sandwich) with ninja spray (aka Dad's deodorant!) and a broom in the "Whack-a-Ninja" game. I think it's totally appropriate for even my almost-6 year old daughter."

"Kung Fu Robot has to save the world from ... from a kung-fu sized appetite!" This hip app story is Read more …

Professor Garfield Forms of Media by Paws Incorporated

The Professor Garfield apps from Infinite Learning Lab, a popular non-profit foundation with a great website for kids content, is one of those free series that came out early in the launch of the iPad. I don't know how I managed to miss this exceptional set of titles. Recently, my 6 year old became a rather fluent reader and has been obsessed with the Garfield cartoon books from our local library.

So I decided to just search the app store for other "Garfield" content in the hopes of treating my 6-year old to something fun on Christmas morning. When I discovered the four-app series from Paws Inc. under the education category, and free, I was truly stunned. These four totally FREE apps Read more …

Brush of Truth by Story Bayou, Inc.

Note: This App is formatted for the smaller screen.

Brush of Truth, developed by Story Bayou, Inc., is an extremely clever, interactive book app [for iOS, Google-Play & Kindle - See "Other Versions" tab above]. It can be customized for the needs of the reader by the reader. In Brush of Truth, two tweens discover an enchanted paintbrush created by a medieval sorcerer. The paintbrush is magical – whatever you paint with it comes to life! There are many adventures included in Brush of Truth. Some of these adventures include helping a sea goddess find the key to the oceans dying sea life, exploring dark tunnels under the earth, and fleeing talking vultures.

What makes Brush of 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 …

A tale off the top of my head by SARL La souris qui raconte

This tale, told in the original French and a well-crafted English translation, tells the story of an old man looking back on his life. It is touching and melancholy, with complex themes about love and loss that reads more like a long poem than a book. The man's dog is actually a she-wolf, Nimis, who stays by his side through a hundred years of reclusive existence. Beautiful illustrations nicely augment the story, with ingenious animated and interactive elements that surprise and delight.

The story is nicely constructed in free verse, although many of the themes and much of the language used will be difficult for readers under age 12 (or even older - when I ran a page through the Read more …

Cowboys and Aliens: The Kids by ISBX

This title is based on the 2006 graphic novel about a group of cowboys trying to save townspeople abducted by aliens. Timed to release as "Cowboys & Aliens" hit theaters this summer, this title is only vaguely related to the movie's more mature plot. In this book, fictional kids are introduced representing sterotypical 'cowboys', 'indians' and 'aliens'. The storyline has the kids refusing to share their toys but soon they decide it would be more fun if they can all play together. Told in rhyme, the story ends with new friendships made (and possibly peace in the universe).

The app is solidly made with a lot of nice settings & extras, including painting pages based on all 23 pages of Read more …

The Jungle Book, adapted for the iPad by Random House Digital, Inc.

This is an exceptional production of the original version of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, including a picture book version that is abbreviated to just 30 pages. This app also includes the full novel (over 200 pages) although this version is not narrated. This title was written in the late 1800′s and has not been interpreted in this version to be more accessible to a modern audience, so the language will be especially challenging for young readers under the age of 10. It is, however, a great resource for classroom use, especially with the word-by-word narration of the shorter version of this classic story.

For school use when studying this classic, I highly Read more …

Weird But True by National Geographic Society

Featuring a name you can trust, National Geographics' Weird But True app is full of fascinating facts about science and nature. Bright, crisp and colorful graphics on simple pages that feel more like a slide-show than a book are entertaining, but have little enhancement. There are brief sound effects, but no narration. The app also contains ads for Goldfish, the sponsor of this app. Although free, it is actually really more of a teaser or 'lite' app, containing only 24 of the over 600 possible fact cards, which can be purchased in-app for another $5 total (at time of this review). Educational, solidly built but sparse in features while heavy on advertising links.

Recommended with Read more …

Heidi on the Alp by JustKidsApps - Katrin Draemann Barothy

Heidi Part I is a digital retelling of the classic Heidi story. In the first app, one of three (all now available through iTunes), Heidi is brought at the age of six to stay with her reclusive grandfather high in the Alps. She lives with him long enough to soften the old man, becoming quite close to him and Peter, the goat-herd. At the end of this book, we are left wondering, "What will happen to Heidi now that her aunt has come back to get her?"

As a digital book, this title is very solidly made, with easy 'swipe' style page turning, nice sound-quality and simple settings for reading with or without narration. There is, however, no way to navigate within the pages of the book. The Read more …

How To Train Your Dragon- Kids Book HD by FrogDogMedia LLC

This app version of the beloved movie, "How to Train Your Dragon," is a visually beautiful book on the iPad.  It captures all the major plot points from the movie while doing a nice retelling of the touching story of a brainy boy and his dragon.  For fans of the movie, this iPad book version will be a fun trip through all their favorite scenes.

This book is not, however, animated or interactive, which can be a disappointment to kids who are expecting an experience more like the animated iPad movie-book releases.  As a parent, though, I realize that this book might be a nice bedtime treat for a child who loves the movie, something that wouldn't be as easy to pull off with a Read more …

Ben 10 Triple Threat - Children's Book by FrogDogMedia LLC

This title is based on the Cartoon Network animated series "Ben 10" that began in 2005.  It is about "Ben Tennyson, who finds a device called the Omnitrix, which allows him to transform into 10 different alien heroes," according to the extensive fan site set up for all things "Ben 10" (see link in synopsis for Wikia).  

Originally, Ben was a pre-teen, but in the part of the series that "Triple Threat" happens, Ben is a teenager.  This iPad book is based on a comic book that was published in 2010, following 16 year old Ben & his friends. See synopsis for more details.

Not being familiar with this series, in any of its many forms,  I had a hard time following the Read more …

Ben 10 Science Friction- Kids' Book by FrogDogMedia LLC

This title is based on the Cartoon Network animated series "Ben 10" that began in 2005.  It is about "Ben Tennyson, who finds a device called the Omnitrix, which allows him to transform into 10 different alien heroes," according to the extensive fan site set up for all things "Ben 10" (see link in synopsis for Wikia).  Originally, Ben was a pre-teen, but in the part of the series that "Science Friction" happens, Ben is a teenager.  This iPad book is based on a comic book that was published in 2010, following 16 year old Ben & his friends.

Not being familiar with this series, in any of its many forms,  I had a hard time following the story.  So, if you have also Read more …