So Many Stars – Andy Warhol by Bugaboo International B.V.

This extraordinary picture book app is based on the board book by the same name, published in print in 2013. So Many Stars is a whimsical and nearly wordless celebration of the artistic vision of Andy Warhol. According to the developers, the "So" series of illustrations created by Warhol was intended to:

" ... explore the concept of ‘So,’ including You Are So Big, You Are So Small, So Sweet, and I Love You So. Filled with sweet phrases that will enthrall parents and children alike, Warhol’s So Many Stars is a terrific introduction to an iconic modern artist. These illustrations are bundled in a unique ‘So’ book for children."

Featuring beautifully timed Read more …

Red In Bed by daniel logeman

Created by Josh On, Red in Bed is a lyrical and simple picture book app with the perfect amount of interactivity and animation, lightly added to every page. Designed with the touch tablet in mind, this app (available for iOS and Google-Play) takes a very simple story about the colors all in bed one morning. Only red is feeling sick. The other colors try to help out by coloring strawberries, tomatoes and other red items like a Stop sign, but there really is no substitute for red.

Children will be drawn into the intuitive interface, easily figuring out that you can tap each color/colour ball to hear a different sound, like a piano keyboard. Tapping on the grey items on subsequent pages will Read more …

Four little corners by DADA Company Edutainment S.L.

Four Little Corners, by DADA Company, is a simple storybook app with a sophisticated message - fitting in with your peers can be as difficult as fitting a square peg through a round hole. Wow! Four Little Corners is digital masterpiece, based on the original book by Jérôme Ruillier, whose message is a timeless classic.

We LOVE this unassuming yet profound story/app; it is a delightfully darling little tale that has such a powerful message! Four Little Corners reinforces integral values such as friendship, integration, equality participation, comradeship, and social justice. The message that it is just fine to be different comes through loud and Read more …

Go Away, Big Green Monster! for iPad by Night & Day Studios, Inc.

Ed Emberley's classic print title from 1992 is spelendidly represented in app form, making the original 'die-cut' pop-up style title as relevant for today's children as those who preferred the old school version. Each page, just like the original, takes the potentially scary 'monster' and deconstructs each element, giving children the delightful experience of conquering their night-time fears.

First appear the eyes, then nose and teeth, breaking down the elements of children's fears about monsters in a fun and colorful way. A whole new digital generation can now confidently say, "Go Away, Big Green Monster!" Features include the ability to have the story narrated by Ed Emberley himself, or Read more …

Spot the Dot by Ruckus Media Group

This game is based on the print pop-up activity books by David A. Carter. As an app it is a lot of fun and preserves much of the charm of the print titles. Each page asks the reader to 'spot the dot' hidden under boxes, on screens covered with geometric shapes and on 'hidden object' style pages, including ones with movement. The visuals are lovely although not quite as stunning as the paper versions of titles like "One Red Dot" and "600 Black Spots".

This app teaches colors and attention to detail, as well as having several simple sentences that appear as they are read aloud. Each activity is fun and has just a bit of challenge. Young children may need an adults help once in awhile, but for Read more …

Blue Hat, Green Hat - Boynton by Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

Blue Hat, Green Hat is another hit by Loud Crow, the same developer that made The Going to Bed Book and the PopOut series. While it is interactive with subtle 'pop-up' style animations, it is also short enough (and accompanied by relaxing piano music) to make it appropriate for settling down at nighttime. However, this title has a lot for kids to play with, too, making it great for any time of day. The print book, published in 1984, is also a chart topper with nearly a hundred 5-Star reviews at Amazon.com.

This app has a similar style to the other Boynton book apps, with lots of touchable elements that bounce slightly like a true pop-up book. There are also delightful touches, like animals Read more …

The Shape of Me and Other Stuff - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

This app, from Oceanhouse Media, is based on the print book published in 1973 and originally subtitled, Dr. Seuss's Surprising Word Book. It follows a journey with two children as they explore different shapes, shown in silhouette. It is full of things that kids can ponder, like the shape of people, animals and objects. The illustrations are a little unusual for a Seuss book, with blocks of color and solid objects shown in outline only, making it great for focusing on shapes and shadows.

Many items are shown, but not all are even named in the text, giving young readers the opportunity to focus on fine details. My child really enjoyed naming everything pictured as we read it together. Read more …

Wee You-Things by Wee Society LLC

Wee You-Things, by Wee Society LLC, is exactly the kind of book we need to read to our children to help instill 21st century character traits of acceptance. This HAPPY interactive book encourages us all to appreciate and celebrate the differences in people. We were so delighted when we came across this app, every element in this simple read is stunning and the message so poignant! This company has a darling line of toys and prints to adorn your tots room with. We believe in happy design. We’re especially drawn to the impact and beauty of simple, modern graphic shapes and bold colors. We imagine these pieces would be equally happy in spaces for kids or adults. After a bit of Read more …

BigLittleBrother by Minnesota Historical Society Press

Published simultaneously in print this fall by the Minnesota Historical Society, this is a remarkable title that has all the charm of a traditional print picture book with just the right enhancement to make a stellar digital storybook. A little boy tells the story in the first person, explaining that he wanted a little brother, but hadn't expected him to grow to be as big (or even bigger) than himself so quickly. But when his 'big little brother' scares off a bully at the daycare, this big brother feels much more tolerant of his little brother's shenanigans.

Big Little Brother is one of those book apps that stands out for a combination of endearing illustrations, well-crafted storytelling Read more …

The Body Language of Veronica Sue by Black Dog Books, LLC

From the developer of the "Violet" series of book apps comes, Veronica Sue, a little frog who helps young children get in touch with their feelings and physical reactions to everyday events. Veronica is adorable and has a body that 'talks to herself' telling her more about how she feels. From sweating in the sun to feeling shy around new kids, this theme continues on over a dozen beautiful pages with light animation and interactivity.

This book also has lovely background music that pairs nicely with the expressive illustrations, athough it is on a rather short loop. The story itself has nice pacing that is made even better with the engaging narration (although it does not highlight as Read more …

A to Sea by Joshua Wilson

A to Sea by Josh and Donna Wilson of The Happy Dandelion is not your ordinary ABC book. Every page, including the cover page, has beautiful interactive graphics combined with soothing narration and audio. The book app comes in both iPhone and iPad versions, this review is of the iPad version.

Each letter in the alphabet is represented by a sea creature with an anecdotal description. You can either read the text on your own, or click on it to have it read it out loud. Click or tilt the screen to move the sea creature, see an animation, and/or hear sounds. Clicking on the bottom of the screen brings up a small banner with an interesting fact about the sea creature. These extra facts Read more …

Peepers: A Zany Peep at Opposites by Once Upon an App

This simple children's book about opposites has anything but a simple approach to it's design.  Peepers are bird-like creatures with colorful, crazy "feathers", zany eyes and extra long legs.  The illustrators' whimsical style matches perfectly with the text, sound effects and cheerful narration.

This book has two modes, interactive or automatic. The interactive mode is by far more fun, though, allowing the child to choose between two possible words to fill in the blank for the 'opposite' word in each pair (ex. "I say, fancy, You say ______." plain or sparkly). The child then can touch/hold & drag the correct word into the blank, although this took my child & I a Read more …

Press Here: The App by Chronicle Books

Press Here: The App, by Chronicle Books, is a new release inspired by the International bestselling picture book by Hervé Tullet. This app is like the piped piper, as it mesmerizes children into following polka-dots all around the iPad. The blue, yellow, and red dots dance, connect, morph, shrink, spin, disappear, and just as quickly reappear.

All the while, delightful sound effects and music hypnotize players into a feeling of relaxed bliss. This very open-ended app has no format, each game slides into the next without ever displaying a definitive conclusion. Kids are encouraged to explore, with no two sessions every being the same – real Read more …

Josh & Emma Go to the Beach by Jasra Inc

This cute title under the category 'education' is actually a sweet storybook about two kids going to the beach and counting things into their shiny red pail. The counting interactivity is only for numbers 1-5, but it is a good complement to the simple story. This app is appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers in particular. The text is also in a clear, easy to read font that would be suitable for young readers. Nice sound effects accompany most of the tappable interactions.

The illustrations are simple but engaging. The book is also narrated by children, making it appealing to youngsters. The audio doesn't have the same polished, professional feel that many app books now have, but it is Read more …

Fox In Socks - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media

Fox in Sox is a delightful book in digital form, with bright beautiful pictures of the beloved classic Dr. Seuss. I had forgotten just how much tongue twisting some of these Seuss titles require, so it was refreshing to have a digital version that 'reads by itself' (as my son likes to say). And the professional narrator does a much better job than I could ever do with lines like "muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle".

For the read-a-long effect, each word is highlighted as it is read. Tap on any word to hear it spoken, even in the 'read-it-myself' mode. All of the Dr. Seuss books are an excellent choice for children learning to read because they are filled with Read more …

Round Is A Mooncake HD by Take 2 Ventures LLC

This sweet picture book app for young readers is based on a well-loved print title, published in 2000. With just a few tappable sounds, PicPocket Books has created a faithful digital retelling of Roseanne Thong's delightful story about a little girl exploring her cultural environment. Told in the first person, the little Chinese girl names all the round (e.g. lantern, fishbowl, rice bowls, cups of tea), square (e.g. checkerboard, tofu cakes, dim sum, window), and rectangular (e.g. inking stones, mobile phone, Chinese lace, sack of rice, lucky money, books) items. After each series the narrator asks the reader to find more things that shape, creating a nice opportunity for Read more …

Hide Run Growl by Fiona Treweeke

This cute, short title features a tiger cub that is trying to hunt while his mother is injured. His mantra is "Hide, Run, Growl" (and swipe) as he explores his possible prey. Many creatures are just too big for him to consider pouncing on though. After passing by a crocodile, snake, giraffe and elephant, the cub finds an animal just the right size to try out his skill. Hide, Run, Growl is told in simple, repetitive sentences perfect for young listeners & readers.

This title is solidly made with easy arrow page turning. It is lightly animated with a nice educational & interactive feature that shows the name of everything pictured on each page with accompanying voice-over. Read more …

Open Wide Snap by Fiona Treweeke

This cute, short title features a crocodile who tries to convince several animals in the jungle that he will not eat them if they will only help him clean his dirty back teeth. He gets no help from several creatures who don't trust him, but then he meets a fluffy rabbit who is willing to help. The two become friends. Open, Wide, Snap is told in simple, repetitive sentences perfect for young listeners & readers.

This title is solidly made with easy arrow page turning. It is very lightly animated with a nice educational & interactive feature that shows the name of everything pictured on each page with accompanying voice-over. The book is also nicely narrated (highlighting as Read more …

Toucan Toucan't by Top That! Publishing

This is a sweet little book with a playful feel. The text of the book uses a cute play on words, since "Toucan" sounds just like "Two Can" and the alternate pages use "Toucan't" in place of "Two Can't". The 2 Tucans are featured on each page, alternating between things two friends CAN share and things two friends CANNOT share (for example, it starts with "Toucan Tango.", followed by "Toucan't share a potty."). Young children will be amused by this play on words and the silly scenarios the toucans find themselves sharing and not sharing on alternating pages.

There are nice, but limited interactive elements and very simple animation, probably just right for a young child. This book is one of 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 …

Mabell's Zoo - Interactive Counting Book by Brenda Long

Mabel's Zoo is a simple but lovely storybook app that explores familiar animals found in a zoo for the very youngest readers. Simple text, lacking grammatical polish, accompanies each patchwork scene. "Elephant gives rides to the birds", "Monkeys swing from vinces and each other" and "Tangs bring sunshine to the ocean" are typical phrases found in this book app, explaining to young listeners the basics of wildlife. Within the app's 10 pages (no pageguide), children will find the sounds and sights of many zoo animals. This is an app that is fun to explore and share with a young child, especially when teaching about the natural world and animals.

Recommended.

This app has been thoroughly Read more …

The FOOT Book - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

This is a very fun book app and a nice addition to any educational library. It is one of the best digital options to teach about opposites and among the Seuss books aimed at young readers. Engaging in a way only Dr. Seuss can be, this book demonstrates through whimsical illustrations concepts like dry/wet, slow/fast, big/small and even his/her. The story follows a Seussical looking character who is exploring all the kinds of feet, starting with left and right.

In print, this book has been a favorite of kids and their parents since it's publication in 1968. This one stands out for its emphasis on opposites and is among the Seuss books that stick to sight words for the benefit of Read more …

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 …

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 …

Lars and Friends by Carla Susanto

Some educational apps are rather predictable.  Lars and Friends, a new combination story and puzzle app, is anything but predictable.  From the opening screen, in which Lars, the red horse, has a knot of frogs perched atop his head, to the end, there are plenty of surprises.  This wonderfully creative approach to learning about the animal kingdom makes it a Top Pick at Fun Educational Apps.

Lars and Friends is the creation  Carla Susanto, a mom with an artist's soul.  It is available for iPad and Kindle devices.  The story can be enjoyed in two ways, with a Read by Myself and a Read to Me  Read more …

Buckle My Shoe by appropo llc

I have loved using Anna Grossnickle Hines’ version of One, Two, Buckle My Shoe in storytimes for years.  With its quilted illustrations, the slight variation in text from the traditional rhyme (just enough to make it interesting, not so much that it becomes weird or unfamiliar), and the layers of detail that you can choose to explore with kids or not, depending on how squirrely your group is (How many buttons are on this page? Where did that red thread come from?), this book is rich with read-aloud possibility. I was delighted to learn recently that this book has now been translated into an app called Buckle My Shoe by appropro!

I am happy to report that Read more …

Reading Train Learn to Read Books, Songs & Games by The Learning Station, LLC

Reading Train Endless Books, Songs & Games – School Readers by The Learning Station is a digital library of over 200+ picture books kids can read and record created by Libby Curran, educator and author of award winning books.  The Reading Train is a great concept for children from the get go. Once you have setup your child’s user account, they can get onboard the reading train and start learning! There is a large collection of reading books to choose from, some covering colours, animals, life science, shapes, maths etc all categorised and covered at three different reading levels.

To access any books, you need to choose a reading level by selecting the level 1, 2 Read more …

The Very Itchy Bear by We Are Wheelbarrow PTY LTD

The Very Itchy Bear is the third picture book to follow Nick Bland's print title, The Very Cranky Bear, about four animal friends who just want to find a nice, dry place to play cards on a rainy day. In the 2nd book, The Very Hungry Bear, each animal tries to placate the angry (and hungry) bear in hopes of sharing his cave. This book takes the bear (and the reader) away from the familiar cave and animal friends. Bland's storytelling style and gorgeous illustrations are still a highlight in this title, though, published in print in the UK in 2011. In fact, I think this is my favorite app, so far in the series.

Bear is peacefully reading a book (perhaps one of Bland's earlier hits?) on a Read more …

The UnStealer by Joshua Wilson

The UnStealer, by Joshua and Donna Wilson, is a new book app from developer the happy dandelion, with an enhanced tale about semantics that is never un-satisfying. The 'unstealer' is a bandit who steals the prefix 'un' from the front of many otherwise un-happy utterances. He is pictured primarily in silhouette as he leaves each page, although a full picture is on the cover, showing him with UN's spilling out of his pockets. These fun illustrations create a nice visual background for a well-written picture book about modifying the meaning of words (for the better).

A sad clown is cheered up when his unfunny feelings are 'undone' by this word-smithing thief, as well as many Read more …

How Far is UP by E Sargeant

How Far is Up? is a new and mesmerizing storybook app about three friends who wonder how far it is to the moon, sun and even to the faraway galaxies beyond our own. Rusty, Buster and Ting explore the concept of "up" in a familiar, earth-bound world ... from the top of a cupboard to a tall tree, and then to the peak of a mountain. Soon they look farther, beyond the well-known to our greater universe, expanding their view by traveling in a rocketship. The reader is taken along on this exploration of the stars, planets and space, with a wonderful mix of facts and musings.

The story unfolds with perfect pacing alongside lyrical verses and some of the most beautiful piano music I've ever heard Read more …

One Giggly Gorilla by Wasabi Productions Pty Ltd

This is an adorable sequal to Ten Giggly Gorillas, an animated counting book from Graham Nunn, creator of the Larry Lizard series of book apps. As the app opens, one cute primate swings from the branches of a tree. With each subsequent page, additional gorillas are added, one by one. Readers tap and hold the branch the gorillas are on to catapult them up to the next section of a tall tree. Each gorilla has something unique; from a pirate's hat to a tutu, each animal is different.

The story goes on like this for ten pages, until there are no gorillas left. As the story progresses, the reader will see the page slide down to show a lower part of the same tree with all the gorillas hanging Read more …


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