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 …

OnceAppon - A good night story maker for kids by OnceAppon

OnceAppon, released in May 2014, is a beautifully-illustrated app that invites users to assemble a “hero” with an avatar maker, and see that hero imported into a readable story customized with their own choices. It’s the most exciting ebook and creation app for young children (preK-1st) that I’ve seen in a long time. As of now, OnceAppon is free for iPad, with no Android version. It lends itself to hours and hours of individual use, and could be an absolutely magical addition to a digital storytime.

The details:

OnceAppon’s avatar maker is wonderful, offering lots–but not an overwhelming amount–of options for customizing your hero’s hair, Read more …

WePublish by KIDS' OWN (AUSTRALIA) INC

Two of the six early literacy skills I focus on in storytime are print awareness and print motivation. Like librarians everywhere, as we read, play, sing, talk, and write I want kids to see that print is everywhere and understand how a book works. I also want to get them hooked on stories, books and reading.

Along with print books, I’m always looking for early literacy boosting apps and other digital media that I can review, use in programs, and recommend to families. So when I had the opportunity to review the WePublish app recently, I was interested to see what it was all about. Oftentimes the way to connect a young child with reading is too share with them books that Read more …

Collins Big Cat: It Was a Cold, Dark Night Story Creator by Harper Collins Publishers Limited

The Collins Big Cat series was created in the past decade by UK based Collins Education, the third-largest educational publishing house in the United Kingdom, and an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. It Was a Cold, Dark Night, based on the print title by Tim Hopgood, was published in 2009. According to the description:

"Ned the hedgehog is looking for a home in the cold, dark forest. He needs somewhere warm and cosy to sleep, but all he keeps finding are other creatures' homes: rabbits', foxes', owls', bats'. Will he ever find a snug safe bed of his own?" [Source: Amazon]

In digital form, this series features light animation and interactivity, along with intuitive Read more …

Collins Big Cat In The Garden Story Creator by Harper Collins Publishers Limited

The Collins Big Cat series was created in the past decade by UK based Collins Education, the third-largest educational publishing house in the United Kingdom, and an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. In the Garden, based on the print title by Mitch Cronick with illustrations from Melanie Sharp, was published in 2005. According to the description:

"What happens when Mum is in the garden tidying up, but the children just want to play? This simple, humorous story book shows two boys creating mayhem while Mum works on, unaware. It explores the different places they find to play, from the tent, to the sandpit, through the grass, the leaves and the mud before finally Read more …

Collins Big Cat: Playing Story Creator by Harper Collins Publishers Limited

The Collins Big Cat series was created in the past decade by UK based Collins Education, the third-largest educational publishing house in the United Kingdom, and an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. Playing, based on the print title by Tim Hopgood, was published in 2010. According to the description:

"It's fun to play outside, and these three children enjoy it in all seasons, summer, autumn, winter and spring - whatever the weather! Each season is evocatively illustrated by Tim Hopgood - 2008 winner of Booktrust's Best Emerging Illustrator Award, developing the text and encouraging discussion." [Source: Amazon]

In digital form, this series features light Read more …

Collins Big Cat: The Farmer’s Lunch Story Creator by Harper Collins Publishers Limited

The Collins Big Cat series was created in the past decade by UK based Collins Education, the third-largest educational publishing house in the United Kingdom, and an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. The Farmer's Lunch, based on the print title by Paul Shipton, was published in 2009. According to the description:

"It's lunchtime and the farmer's hungry, but his lunch box is empty! He turns to all the animals on his farm for help, the sheep, cows, horses and geese, but they are all being very secretive. Are they hiding his lunch, or a much bigger and better surprise? The delightful illustrations develop the text, providing lots of points for discussion." Read more …

Collins Big Cat: At the Dump Story Creator by Harper Collins Publishers Limited

The Collins Big Cat series was created in the past decade by UK based Collins Education, the third-largest educational publishing house in the United Kingdom, and an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. At the Dump, based on the print title by Claire Llewellyn and Ley Honor Roberts, was published in 2007. According to the description:

"This book focuses on the core topics of biology with a friendly writing style and vivid illustrations while exploring current "real world" issues. A seven-part organization covers atoms, molecules, and cells; energy and life; genetics; evolution and the diversity of life; human anatomy and physiology; and plant anatomy and physiology. For Read more …

Click Clack by Roads Corporation

Click Clack: Buckled in your booster seat is a delightful book app created by VicRoads in Victoria, Australia. This agency is the equivalent of the DMV (Dept. of Motor Vehicles) in the U.S. They commissioned this free storybook, designed by author Danny Katz with the whimsical artistry of Mitch Vane's illustrations, to support child safety practices. This title tells a simple story, poem-like and lyrical, about road safety in a fun and accessible way for young readers and their caregivers.

In this book, many children (and adults) are pictured buckling up and staying safe in the back seat of the car. After securing themselves in the vehicle, each child passenger is featured on several pages Read more …

Collins Big Cat: Around the World Story Creator by Harper Collins Publishers Limited

The Collins Big Cat series was created in the past decade by UK based Collins Education, the third-largest educational publishing house in the United Kingdom, and an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. Around the World, based on the print title by James Carter with illustrations from Cliff Moon, was published in 2007. According to the description:

"Traversing across the world by train, boat and plane, the two children in this story poem encounter the extremes of sun and snow travelling to Africa, India and China. The book begins with a poem, before revealing their journey's details, and repetitive questions encourage the reader to turn the page and continue Read more …

Collins Big Cat: The Steam Train Story Creator by Harper Collins Publishers Limited

The Collins Big Cat series was created in the past decade by UK based Collins Education, the third-largest educational publishing house in the United Kingdom, and an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. The Steam Train based on the print title by Ian Whybrow, was published in 2009. According to the description:

"The steam train is pulling out of the station, it heads to the hills, into a rainstorm, through a tunnel and out the other side into the sunshine and to the seaside. Follow the rhythm and the rhyme of this simple poem and travel with the train on its wonderful adventure, beautifully illustrated by Rosalind Hudson." [Source: Amazon]

In digital Read more …

Auracle – Dr. Duncan Dog on Duty by Auryn, Inc

Duncan is a dog with a purpose, visiting patients in the hospital to help them feel better. And he's part of a diverse family where everyone has important work they love to do. Based on the fun print title published in 2007, this app features lots of great enhancements, including the ability to fully personalize the story and record your own narration.

The app features charming illustrations with lots of detail. The story is told in pictures as much as words, making it an ideal title for children to re-write as a way to build their own storytelling skills. This book is also lightly interactive, featuring images that name themselves when tapped. For instance, tap on Duncan to see & hear Read more …

Auracle – MIKO "Mom, Wake up and Play!" – HD by Auryn, Inc

The Miko series, by talented author Brigitte Weninger, has been among my child's favorites in print for many years. This title was published in 2005 and features a story about little Miko (an adorable mouse) waking up too early and wanting his mom to get up and play with him. I was delighted to have this title for my digital library, since it is out-of-print. I especially love the beautiful illustrations of Stephanie Roehe that pair so nicely with the sweet stories in this series.

"Can I sleep until the alarm clock rings? Pleasssse?" begs Miko's mom as she snuggles back under the covers. Sound familiar? Miko tries to find something interesting to do while his mom is Read more …

Auracle – The Trees Grin Beside Me by Auryn, Inc

This is a poem-like story with light interactivity and unique personalization settings. It is told in the first person by a little girl who is exploring a forest. Images depict each of the seasons while the little girl compares her own body to the trees around her, seeing the connectedness of nature.

This book was published first in print in 2010 and features rhyming text by Michelle Macdonald. The trees are depicted with expressive faces that will appeal to kids in the richly colored illustrations by Leah Davis. Users can edit the text of the book to change it or rewrite the story in its entirety, as well as record their own narration. Each page can also be tapped to see Read more …

Collins Big Cat: My Bike Ride Story Creator by Harper Collins Publishers Limited

I really wanted to like this title, even love it, given that it is currently free and from Haper Collins, one of the world's largest publishing companies. It is part of the "Big Cat" series of apps, all of which include a specialized 'story creation' tool. There are several other apps in the series, including others I enjoyed, although none of them properly work in story creation mode.

But this title also gets very confusing with its basic interactive elements, taking a lovely (although quite simple) title from a print publication in 2006 and reissuing it in digital in a way that makes it nearly un-usable. It is currently free, along with a number of other titles in this series, so worth a Read more …

Imagistory - Creative Storytelling App for Kids by Imagistory Publishing Limited

Imagistory is a wordless picture book designed for children 3 and up. The objective of the app is to increase overall language skills while creating unique stories. The only tools necessary are an iPad and a great imagination. There is so much that I like about this app. The app is very user friendly. Page turning is easy and learning curve is small. There is a small guide in the parent and teacher section, but more about how to use the app in the classroom and not really how to use the app. The only hidden icons are to pause, return to home or restart, supported by an arrow in the top left corner.

At the onset the “author” is asked to customize the story with their name Read more …


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