Baby's First Monsters: ABCs by Zachary Fisher

Baby's First Monsters: ABC is a unique approach to a children's alphabet book. Instead of the traditional objects found in alphabet books, like toys and cute baby animals, this title has an assortment of "legendary creatures and mythical monsters". There is even a complete wiki-sourced glossary to help out those less familiar with the mythical world. The creatures range from an 'Angha' (mythical giant bird with head of dog & claws of lion) to a Zilant (A winged snake/dragon like creature).

The app is separated into 3 sections plus the glossary of terms. There is the "Alliteration Academy" which contains 26 pages with each animal representing the letters of the alphabet. Then there Read more …

Baby's First Monsters: 123 by Zachary Fisher

Baby's First Monsters: 123 is a unique approach to a children's counting book. Instead of the traditional objects found in counting books, like toys and cute baby animals, this title has an assortment of "legendary creatures and mythical monsters". There is even a complete wiki-sourced glossary to help out those less familiar with the mythical world. The creatures range from an 'Abada' (mythical animal similar to a unicorn in the Kongo language) to a Yeti (ape-like creature said to live in the Himalayas of Nepal, India & Tibet).

The app is separated into 3 sections plus the glossary of terms. There is the "Rhyming Bridge" which contains 20 pages with each animal representing the numbers Read more …

The Lonely Beast ABC by James Kelleher

Based on Chris Judge's popular print title, The Lonely Beast, this book app is simple but beautiful and filled with unique interactive elements that will surprise and delight young fingers. In the print title, republished in 2011, a cute 'beast' travels far and wide to find friends so he won't be lonely anymore. Simple illustrations in silhouette and crisp clear text make the original print book and this new app well suited to toddlers and preschoolers.

There are a lot of alphabet apps on the market, but this one is especially well-designed artistically, with a different approach to the interactive scene on each of the 26 pages. Children will love the chance to pop bubbles, play the drums Read more …

The Lonely Beast 123 by James Kelleher

Based on Chris Judge's popular print title, The Lonely Beast, this book app is simple but beautiful and filled with unique interactive elements that will surprise and delight young fingers. In the print title, republished in 2011, a cute 'beast' travels far and wide to find friends so he won't be lonely anymore. Simple illustrations in silhouette and crisp clear text make the original print book and this new app well suited to toddlers and preschoolers.

There are many counting apps and books in the digital market, but this one is especially well-designed artistically, with a different approach to the interactive scene on each of the pages, featuring the numbers 1-12. Children will love the Read more …

Dr. Seuss's ABC by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Dr. Seuss's ABCs is a fun book app, pairing great sound effects and narration with the whimsical illustrations that make Seuss books instant classics. The book shows off the alphabet with crazy made-up seussical animals like the Fiffer-feffer-feff and Little Lola Lopp.

In print, this book has been a favorite of toddlers and their parents since it's publication in the early 90's, with many reprints including a board book version. Like the other titles from Oceanhouse Media, this book has an eye on educational enhancements. For the read-a-long effect, each word is highlighted as it is read. You can also tap on any word to hear it spoken, even in the 'read-it-myself' mode.

For Read more …

Axel Scheffler's Flip Flap Farm by Nosy Crow Limited

Nosy Crow has done it again with Flip Flap Farm, a companion app to the print book of the same name. Featuring the delightful illustrations of Axel Scheffler, this well-crafted app is sure to please the toddler and preschool set (and their parents). Featuring the tops and bottoms of eleven animals that mix and match, including: dog, mouse, pig, rabbit, goat, squirrel, turkey, sheep, horse, cow, and chicken. This creates a total of 121 possible combinations, along with well-crafted, rhyming text (and an unending stream of giggles).

Young readers will love the whimsy of this app, with creatures like the "Mig" (mouse top, pig bottom) and "Cheep" (chicken top, sheep bottom). A 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 …

Millie & The Lost Key - Millie Was Here, Book 2 by MegaPops LLC

This is the second book in the series about Millie, an ordinary dog with extraordinary capabilities. In book two, Millie is on an adventure, searching for a key that will bring her an endless supply of bacon. This adorable pooch shows up in photographs that are interspersed with lots of fun interactive & animated elements. You can open flaps, pull levers and play with this app much like a traditional pop-up (only better).

The app has great background music, delightful narration and a charming interactive interface that will please adults as much as children. There is also a fun activity with 'hidden' stickers on each page. This makes it a bit less suitable for bedtime reading, though, Read more …

The Year of the Dragon in 3D - A Peek 'n Play Story App by Mobad Games

This is another top notch animated title from Mobad Media, just in time for Chinese New Year! It features scenes that tilt for a 3D effect when the device is moved, lots of interactivity and a story that will engage kids from start to finish. It even includes some great extras, featuring information about the Chinese Zodiac and a series of hidden coins children can find while exploring each page.

Dominic is a young dragon that wants to enter the community boat race with his friend Bo and an assortment of characters representing the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. When no one will help the young crew learn how to paddle, they don't give up. In the end, Dominic saves the day with some Read more …

And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

This title, from Oceanhouse Media, is Dr. Seuss's first book, published in print in 1937. It follows the imaginative story of a boy named Marco, describing the comings and goings of some very interesting characters on his street. Marco's dad always asks his son what he sees on his way to school, but when the boy tells fanciful tales he is admonished not to tell lies. Dr. Seuss, always a lover of make-believe, shows off his own whimsical storytelling with a subtle message reminding adults to be careful not to crush a child's imagination.

For the read-a-long effect, each word is highlighted as it is narrated. Tap on any word to hear it spoken, even in the 'read-it-myself' mode. Most of the Read more …

There's a Wocket in My Pocket! - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

There’s a Wocket in My Pocket! is a fun book app, pairing funny, made-up animals with the whimsical illustrations that make Seuss books instant classics. The story follows a young boy who lives in a place inhabited by lots of crazy rhyming creatures, from a 'Wasket' (in a basket) to a 'Zillow' (on a pillow). And no, that's not the real estate 'Zillow' but a strange & cuddly creature to share your bed.

In print, this book has been a favorite of young readers and their parents since it's publication in 1974. This one stands out for its sheer silliness, featuring lots of made-up rhymes. Great extension activities for kids can include making up their own crazy rhyming creatures Read more …

Welcome to Monster Isle in 3D - A Peek 'n Play Story App by Mobad Games

Mobad Games has once again brought a 3D book app to the iPad for a storytelling adventure your child will not soon forget. It begins not unlike Gilligan's Island, with a group of innocent tourists going for a short boat tour. Lots of interactive elements and light animation enhance the story nicely, along with dozens of fun items to find. A detailed list of the hidden 'extras' can be found in the page-guide and includes pieces of the map of Monster Isle, which can then be viewed at the end of the story.

Settings for this title include the ability to turn hints on or off, silence the background music (a familiar tune from Mobad's previous apps plays that is nice enough, but on a Read more …

The Gobberwobbly by Ice Cream Publishing L.L.C.

This book opens with delicate classical music and a mysterious door opening ... to the words, "A Gobberwobbly lives in this house." This mysterious creature is at the heart of why socks go missing or get holes in them, according to the story. The Gobberwobbly is a lyrical tale accompanied by beautiful harp music and lush illustrations.

A Gobberwobbly is a creature that lives in every house, eating those missing socks we all wonder about. But the creature can be tamed into a loving pet who grows up and eventually has to leave home, becoming "moody and meditative" in the process (like a real teenager). On about every other page there are interactive elements, like lights that turn Read more …

Shrek Forever After- Kids' Book HD by FrogDog Media

This app version of the beloved movie, "Shrek Forever After," is a visually beautiful book on the iPad.  It has still images of all the major plot points from the movie while doing a nice retelling of Shrek's run-in with Rumpelstiltskin.  The story has a nice moral, too, since in the end Shrek learns to appreciate what he has.  For fans of the movie, this iPad book version will also be a fun trip through all their favorite scenes.

This book is not, however, animated in any way, 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 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 …

Snugly ABC Flip Flap - Children's Book by FrogDogMedia LLC

The Snugly ABC of Smoochy Names is a "mix & match book to shake & flip" that has three words to describe each picture based on all 26 letters of the the alphabet. The animals pictured for each letter are cute in creative ways, making for a hilarious trip through the ABCs. Find an elephant dressed in a clown suit, pictured holding a birthday cake under "Charming Cream-cake Clown" or an otter with a ukelele & bangles on his flippers with the words "Underwater Ukelele-playing Uncle".

Each 'page' has expressive illustrations that capture the book's theme very well. The book is also solidly made with easy swiping for page turn (or flip). You can also 'shake' the device to get 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 …

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 …

Logan and the Upside Down Sea by Iskandar, Inc

This original & imaginative storybook is a crowd pleaser, for both kids & grown-ups.  It is interactive on every page, even the cover.   If you touch the leaves scattered at the bottom of the first page, they bounce up into the air with the sound of ocean waves.

Many pictures throughout the book can be touched to cause the character or object to either bounce up with cute sounds or announce the name of the character with a quick flash of the word as it is being read on the audio track.  The pages can be a bit touchy at times, so while trying to interact with the story, my son often accidentally triggers a page turn. Using the page turn buttons instead helps.

Read more …

Doris and the Dragon Tree by Rats on Cats Publishing Handelsbolag

Doris and the Dragon Tree is an exceptionally cute and engaging story about a little girl with a big imagination. One day she finds a tiny seed pit on the playground and decides it might be from a dragon. She plants the seed and waits for it to grow, which takes a very long time. Her little sister is skeptical at first, but soon branches appear with tiny 'dragon' buds. The dragons grow, eating up everything in the family's refrigerator and making mischief with their smoky dragon farts.

There is no question that this is a winning story, well crafted and accompanied by lovely narration (although it does not highlight). The illustrations are also fun, with a combination of hand drawn Read more …

Maggie and the Perfect Puppy by Brighter Minds

This is a cute and very short little book with light animation. It is about a little girl, Maggie, who is going to pick out her first puppy. She has some extraordinary expectations of the pup, wanting a dog that is purple with polka-dots and has a rainbow colored tongue. He will also smell like cinnamon rolls and have long yellow hair for tying bows. Oh, and add to that duck feet, butterfly wings and a unicorn horn. When Maggie finally gets to the group of puppies to choose from she looks around and then sees her perfect pup, purple as can be. We never do find out if he has all her other criteria met, but perhaps he is perfect in all those ways, too.

The book is nicely narrated with 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 …

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 …

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 …

The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad by BelMontis Publishers Pte. Ltd.

The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad by BelMontis Publishers Pte. Ltd. has just been released. This is the second in the series of magnificent multilingual storybook apps for young readers! This charismatic tale is recommended for children ages six to eleven, and we are sure that many adults will also savor this awesome adventure just as much as any child. This is a classic story that has taken a new twist in letting the reader decide the path by asking which way should they go? Reader, can you help them choose? This app book was written by Jose Miguel Vilar-Bou and Matias Alinovi and illustrated by Alejaandra Zuniga Cardenas, a talented team that takes the finest care in every Read more …


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