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 …

Jack and the Beanstalk by Mindshapes by Mindshapes Limited

"I'm going on a fantastic adventure," says Jack as this story starts. Full of polished animation and fun interactivity that moves the story along, Jack and the Beanstalk by Mindshapes brings a fairy tale classic to digital in a way that is close to perfection. This title is fun, engaging and nicely enhanced for educational use. It features the kind of animation and cartoon-like illustrations that kids love, along with a nice retelling of the classic story about a boy who trades the family cow for three 'magic beans'.

The interactive elements in this app are top notch. Tap the mom to make her toss the beans out the window to grow into a giant beanstalk. Watch Jack eat his fill of cakes in 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 Three Little Pigs-Nosy Crow animated storybook by Nosy Crow Limited

There are lot of choices in the app store for lovers of the three little pigs, but very few stand out. This version, the first book app by Nosy Crow, is one of the very best! It is interactive in unique and fun ways that make the story feel more 'alive' than any other ebook I've read with my child. They even take advantage of the iPad's microphone, using it to pick up the sound from 'blowing' at the screen - which then triggers the wolf's classic "huff & puff" action. 

The reader gets to help the pigs build their three little houses, too. Flick each pig to get them to toss a bundle of building materials (straw, wood or bricks) at the incomplete structure until it is built. And 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 …

The Edible Suit by Tizio BV

This app is based on The Old Man and the Edible Suit, the first book by illustrator Jon Higham, published in 1986 (now out-of-print). It is beautifully illustrated with lots of whimsical detail ... the kind where you notice new things every time you page through it. Readers will find the nonsensical, nineteenth century Edward Lear poem, The New Vestments, gets a nice treatment, including light animation and plenty of finger-tapping interactivity. The crazy old man who wears edible clothes will amuse today's children as much as it did over the past century, only in a more interactive way.

As a digital offering, this book has lots of great settings to adjust the sound and navigate Read more …

Michael Garland's Icarus Swinebuckle Interactive Picture Book by Paul Scaturro

Michael Garland's Icarus Swinebuckle is a richly illustrated story with fun interactivity and several nicely animated scenes. It's the story of a pig who is a cobbler. He is obsessed with flying and when his flying contraption turns out to work, everyone in town is impressed. But like his name-sake, this Icarus also flies too close to the sun, causing his wings to come apart. This title is based on a print book, published in 2000.

There are some great animated scenes in this app, in the form of short videos interspersed with interactive pages. These videos are not present in 'read myself' mode, which makes it the preferred setting for more traditional bedtime reading. The interactivity Read more …

Mr. Wolf and the Ginger Cupcakes - kids storybook by Lucia Masciullo

'Red Hood' is a little girl who is on her way to Grandma's in Mr. Wolf and the Ginger Cupcakes. The story follows the initial plot of the familiar story of Little Red Riding Hood. The wolf even seems rather mischievous. But the similarities to the familiar, and rather gruesome folktale, end there.

The wolf in this story is a vegetarian and distracts Grandma with a free bingo ticket so he can challenge the little girl to a chess match. Just as Mr. Wolf wins at chess (and is about to devour his earned reward of ginger cupcakes), a passing entomologist bursts in to discover the pair. The scientist and the reader then simultaneously discover that nothing scarier than ginger crumbs is going 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 …

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 …

The Adventures of Peter Pan by Chocolapps SAS

The Adventures of Peter Pan is a nicely abridged retelling of a classic tale. It captures the magic of Neverland, the Lost Boys, pirates and the boy who would never grow up. The highlight of a classic tale like this, when presented by So Ouat!, is the animated storytelling. Characters in the book act out the scenes from each page in short inset videos next to the text. 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 'extras' - a unique drop down of each page's text that can be explored with several words Read more …

RealPinocchio - interactive book HD Full by Andrey Alexandrovich

There are many versions of the story of Pinocchio and his adventures in the app store (and in print), but this one is special in the same way as the popular Alice for iPad app, providing young kids 8 and up, with a version that is accessible for modern readers and also nicely crafted for their reading level (4th-6th grade). This title is not narrated, however, which was fine for Alice when it launched with its impressive and fun physics-based interactive elements in 2010, but two years later, this approach to a public domain storybook seems incomplete without a "read to me" option.

Very fun interactive elements enhance this app nicely, including lots of story-related additions that can Read more …

Rocket Book by Oleg Shadrin

This week, I used this app in a blog post about the difference (or lack thereof) between iBooks (or eBooks) and the new digital category of "book apps". The Rocket app is a quirky and high-quality public domain storytelling experience that began in print in 1912, by Peter Newell. It is useful to demonstrate how different an app and eBook presentation can be on the touch tablet, particularly as an illustration of the point that an app can even be less interactive, although more flexilble in design.

As an app, this title is not only free, but also delightfully presented. It takes an original story from the turn of the last century and makes it accessible to new audiences in the 21st century, 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 …

Pat the Bunny by Random House LLC

Pat the Bunny has been a classic children's book for over 70 years. The original print version, by Dorothy Kunhardt, works its magic with textures to touch and feel, as well as interactive elements. In digital form it lacks only the tactile experience - all the other magic is there - only amplified. There are many more elements to play with, like bubbles from the bath to pop, flowers to watch grow after watering and musical pots & pans.

The book starts with the familiar "peek-a-boo with Paul", although instead of lifting a fabric swatch over the boy's face you just tap the cloth and the fabric flies up, accompanied by cute giggling noises, a surprised gasp or even Paul sticking out his Read more …

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, from Canadian app developer Loud Crow Interactive, is a universal app and an adaptation of the classic Halloween story from Charles M. Schulz. If you are looking for a slice of Halloween nostalgia you need look no further. It has the orignal music, artwork and dialog from the TV Special and is narrated by Peter Robbins the original voice of Charlie Brown.  You can switch the narration off, and control the background music level independently. The words are highlighted as it is read, and touching individual words makes them be spoken too.

The app opens to a old record player playing a record of the soundtrack and you then open a book to Read more …

The Berenstain Bears' BIG Bedtime Book by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

The Berenstain Bears' BIG Bedtime Book was published in print in 2008, and is a great value in digital, featuring six stories from Mrs. Grizzle, the Berenstain bears' babysitter. The stories she tells the cubs are fun twists on familiar fairy tales, starring the bears themselves. The titles included are: 

1. The Three Little Cubs and the Big Bad Pig

2. Goldibear and the Three People

3. The Gingerbread Bear

4. The Three Billy Goats Gruff Meet the Bogg Brothers

5. The Little Red Hen

6. Little Red Grizzly Hood

Each story is under ten minutes on auto play, making all six great for bedtime reading, even for shared storytime. There are also lightly interactive elements that add both fun and 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 …

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 …

Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Fifty years ago this month, Dr. Seuss published this popular bedtime story, now available in a beautiful digital presentation from Oceanhouse Media. Starting with a very small bug (named Van Vleck) to the Zizzer-Zoof Seed salesmen, children will be enthralled by the detailed and imaginative illustrations in this book. Screen after colorful screen shows sleepers of every shape and size, adding up a "Who's-Asleep-Score" that needs just one more (the reader).

Many adults treasure a favorite title from Seuss' prolific collection of picture books, written in the latter half of the 20th century. After reviewing dozens of these classics in app form, I am delighted to finally review the Seuss I Read more …

The Jungle Book: Disney Classics by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

This app does not yet have a written review. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how we rated this app in 9 categories.

Are you interested in becoming a guest reviewer for Digital-Storytime? Contact us via the link at the bottom of this page for more information! We plan to add written guest reviews & re-posts from other reputable blogs & app review sites for book apps we rate on our 9-point scale - starting in fall of 2012!

Three Little Pigs - S28 by Stella 28 Limited

Fairy tales are not difficult to find in app form. Of all the tales retold in digital (and print), the Three Little Pigs is one of the most popular. But all fairy tales are not created equal. This title is unique, not because the story is especially original, but because of the educational enhancements. Readers of fairy tales will be disappointed if they are looking for a quirky or interesting take on this famous story, but for teachers and parents, this is an app that is set up perfectly to engage reluctant readers.

The story is simple, following the plot of the three pigs and their homes made of straw, sticks and brick. I asked my son (age 6) after the first read through to tell me about 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 …

House that Jack built - multilingual interactive book by Mediaprofit

This app does not yet have a written review. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how we rated this app in 9 categories.

Are you interested in becoming a guest reviewer for Digital-Storytime? Contact us via the link at the bottom of this page for more information! We plan to add written guest reviews & re-posts from other reputable blogs & app review sites for book apps we rate on our 9-point scale - starting in fall of 2012!

Note to readers: This rating was expedited by the developer for a small fee. The content of the rating/review is the same, but timing of publication has been prioritized.

Paddington Bear by Harper Collins Publishers Limited

This app is based on the first book in the classic Paddington series, published in 1958 by Michael Bond. It tells the story of how the little bear came into the lives of Mr. & Mrs. Brown at Paddington Station in London and his many adventures. This digital translation features the full story, along with lots of enhancements to engage a wired generation. Hints guide young readers to explore R.W. Alley's classic illustrations for light animation and interactive sound effects, giving this retelling a modern feel without losing any of the original story's charm.

As a digital book, this title is solidly made with easy navigation and ample settings. Page turning is by simple arrows and text Read more …

The Curious Reader by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Is your child crazy for a curious little monkey and his friend with the yellow hat? If so, you'll find this new app from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to be a great way to buy all your favorite titles in digital form for easy access on the go. This is a simple edition of the Curious George series that is more eBook than app - formatted and functioning like an iBook with almost no enhancements. The app includes the first title in the series for free, with additional titles available for in-app purchase. The settings are intuitive and easy to use, including controls for the narration that highlights word-for-word. While perfect for classroom use and bedtime reading, this collection may Read more …

Alice for the iPad by Atomic Antelope

Alice for the iPad by Atomic Antelope gives you a unique chance to re-read this children's classic. It is very well designed and offers stunning illustrations, as well as cool interactive features.

This book app has been highly acclaimed in the press:

• “It reinvents reading.” - The Huffington Post 
• "I am blown away.” - Gizmodo
• "The future" - BBC 
• “A new generation of pop-up books.” - The Independent 
• “Shows why e-books are cool.” - Mashable 
• "Sumptuous." - The Sunday Times

Your kids will be delighted to watch Alice grow big as a house or shrink to just six inches tall simply by tilting Read more …

How Rocket Learned to Read – by Tad Hills by Random House Digital, Inc.

The 2010 New York Times bestselling title, How Rocket Learned to Read is one of those paper books that makes a great interactive app, especially with the thoughtful enhancements from Random House Kids. Not only is it lightly animated with nicely tailored interactive elements, but these additions rarely distract from what is essentially a beautifully constructed story. Tapping the page causes Rocket's tail to wag or his eyes to blink, but most enhancements focus on the young reader. Parents, teachers & librarians will appreciate the educational features, like tap-to-hear for individual words, along with highlighting word for word in time with the lovely narration by Hope Davis.

This app Read more …


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