PopOut! The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin by Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

PopOut! The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin follows in the footsteps of Loud Crow's phenomenal presentation of Peter Rabbit. This title has the same charm with an equally enchanting story from Beatrix Potter. Some of the Potter stories can be a bit violent (The Flopsy Bunnies comes to mind), but this tale is entirely appropriate for even the youngest listeners.

Like Peter Rabbit, this Pop-Out tale is interactive in many remarkable ways that beautifully capture the experience of reading a traditional print pop-up book. There are lots of tabs to pull and charming cutouts that bounce when touched. The overall effect is truly inspired, giving young readers a very engaging experience while managing Read more …

Sleepy Mole's Moving Day by James Scanlon Pty. Ltd.

This is a remarkable little app that lets the reader drive the direction of the story. It stars a little mole, ready for sleep with his teddy bear and striped pajamas. But his nice day's sleep is interrupted by two construction workers digging a hole; now Sleepy Mole has to move on and find a new home. The charming little rodent burrows throughout the story until he finds a new place to sleep.

In digital, there is nothing about the format that requires linear storytelling, so this innovative book allows the reader to choose the direction that the little mole will dig - either up, down, left or right. The effect is very fun. It is even easy to feel as lost as the little mole while choosing Read more …

Goosed Up Rhymes HD by Brain Freeze Entertainment

According to Wiktionary.org & my handy bookmark at Thesaurus.com, to goose-up is "to boost or take steps to make something appear more attractive, to increase or augment." And Goosed-up Rhymes could not have been more appropriately named. It is an app that is so packed with games, tappable interactivity and hidden surprises that I emailed the developer to be sure I hadn't inadvertently missed something. I usually spend a few hours with an app, but this one took twice the normal time to review, simply because it has more than twice the content of a typical book app.

The book is broken into 8 'pages' with each nursery rhyme presented as a full multi-media event. Read more …

Jerry's Day Out by Ink Robin, Inc

Since app developer Ink Robin came on the scene last year, I have been a big fan of theirs.  Some of my all-time favorite storybook apps were developed by Ink Robin. If you haven’t checked out my review of Piccadilly’s Circus or The Hippo, The Rhino, The Elephant… And Me – you really should.  Both stories are wonderful and the illustrations in Piccadilly’s Circus are dreamy (and it is quite funny).  Ink Robin just released Jerry’s Day Out and it is filled with photographs around New York that the developers took themselves.  There is a really cute map that shows you all the main hot spots in New Read more …

The Truly Great Noodle by Grids Interactive, LLC

This is a tremendous iPad book app from a new developer, Grids Interactive. It is the simple but hilarious story of a little boy named Nate, who is attempting to eat one long noodle that has wound its way around town. This noodle gets into some pretty dirty places, including winding through a cat box & the stall of a farting pig. Nate himself also burps and turns green, but the off-color humor hits just the right note of gross for its target audience; my little boy loved this book and the noodle that just seemed to go on and on.

The interactivity is top notch, with dozens of elements on every page that respond to a tap. The animations are humorous & irreverent although not Read more …

MyBackpack - Waterford Learning by Waterford Research Institute, LLC

My Backpack is the first app from the educational non-profit the Waterford Research Institute. The app is designed for children from preschool through 3rd grade and has 4 different sections. It is designed as a classroom supplement to be used alongside Waterford Early Learning, a research-based adaptive software curriculum. It is currently free with no in-app purchases adverts or external links.

The 4 sections are : Read-a-Long, Mental Math, Sing-a-Long, and Nursery Rhymes.

Read-a-Long

There are 16 books included in the app, designed for Pre-k through 2nd grade. These are classic stories which have been rewritten for the Waterford Institute. They can be Read more …

The Tree I See - Interactive Storybook by Aridan Books, Inc.

"Do you see the tree I see? It's short and small, just like me," begins this sweet rhyming tale by Aridan Books. It is told in the first person by a little boy who befriends a tree and learns a heart-warming lesson in the process. Somewhat reminiscent of The Giving Tree, this short picture book shows a tree that provides shelter and sustenance to many creatures. It has an expressive face and 'arms like you and me' (roots), all personified beautifully with animation.

At first it's just the boy who rests on its trunk, but soon many animal friends join the tree, who was once sad and lonely. A squirrel seeks nuts, several birds a nesting place, and more in this title that is as 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 …

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 …

Smarty Britches: Verbs by Cyndie Sebourn

Created by Cyndie Sebourn, a former teacher, this app is part of a series of apps that focus on grammar and are aligned with common core state standards in the US. It is a solid education app, with all the enhancements that make a storybook engaging to digital natives. Each page contains a rich assortment of activities and interactive content, including Spanish translation for many parts of the story (under the phrase "secret language").

The first book in this series was Smarty Britches: Nouns. In this title we once again meet Wyatt, a young boy with a pair of colorful pants he calls his 'smarty britches'. Wyatt takes readers on a tour of his hometown in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. We Read more …

The New Adventures of Peter Rabbit - Enchanted Tales by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

This is a unique offering from Oceanhouse Media, based on a print book that accompanied a straight-to-VHS animated series produced in 1995. The story is a modern adaptation of the peter rabbit story with cartoon illustrations and original music to enhance the digital reading experience. It is very appealing to children, but one of those titles that many parents will want to pass on for shared reading. Even the reviews for the VHS production reflect that while adults may not find this adaptation particularly enjoyable, kids, on the other hand, love it.

The story itself is rather long and windy, as Peter meets new forest friends and trecherous enemies before finally discovering his sisters Read more …

Alphabet with Animals by Pawel Czyzowski

Lightly animated and delightfully illustrated, this alphabet book has a lot to offer. It is organized intuitively, with both arrows to go from A-Z plus a nifty page-guide showing the full alphabet. Tap any of the wooden blocks with a letter to see that page. Toddlers & preschoolers will enjoy the simple interface and cute responses, engaging them in early learning effortlessly. While strong on design and interface, however, it does miss the mark for basic accuracy when it comes to content.

This title includes lots of great animals for each of the letters of the alphabet, including obscure creatures like the Xerus (an African ground squirrel) and the Narwhal (an Arctic toothed whale). Read more …