Little Red Riding Hood by Nosy Crow by Nosy Crow Limited

The much awaited third fairy tale app from Nosy Crow is here and fans of their first two apps, The Three Little Pigs and Cinderella, will not be disappointed. This rendition of the classic tale of a little girl in a red cape and a wolf trying to fool her into thinking he is her grandmother will captivate readers of all ages. This title takes the genre to a new level, introducing a 'choose-your-own-adventure' element along with the usual games presented within the story. These interactive elements, and all the great dialogue, expand the storytelling in a variety of ways, although some kids may become distracted from the storyline in the process. This is hardly a serious issue with such Read more …

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 …

Snow White by Nosy Crow by Nosy Crow Limited

The book app, Snow White by Nosy Crow, is a smart, and sometimes hilarious take of a classic fairy tale. In true Nosy Crow style, this app features vibrant illustrations. It preserves the key elements of the classic story, but removes the scary stuff (gone are any references to bringing her heart back to the queen). A modern sensibility persists, and the results are often hilarious (my favourite: the time Snow White refuses the queen’s poisoned cupcake because she just brushed her teeth). The interactivity is well-placed: for example, children can rock their iPad to put baby Snow White to sleep or, later in the story, they may help the stepmother make her poisoned brew. This app 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 …

Dragon Brush by Small Planet Digital

The 2012 CYBILS award finalists have been announced and this adorable storybook app has made the cut. It is included with four other titles, for the final round of consideration for this prestigious literary award. After reading this title, you won't have a hard time seeing why it has been so well-regarded by critics. The story has a distinctly Eastern in feel, but told in a way that is very accessible to a Western audience.

The main character is a little rabbit boy named Bing-Wen who loves to paint. But his family is too poor to afford paper and pencils, so Bing-Wen draws in the sand. One day he helps a pedlar woman and as a reward she gives him a magic paintbrush. When Bing-Wen tries it Read more …

Angus the Irritable Bull by Watermark Limited

We all know an Angus in real life — the grumpy person everyone is afraid to upset lest they have to deal with the bull. There is a possibility that I am married to an Angus (not really, my darling husband, go back to stomping daisies while I review). It's important to remember that irritable people, who are not like my husband at all, might not even know why they are grumpy and they just need a friend who will stick by them.

Angus is a grumpy bull. The cows, the dogs and even the farmer avoid him until one day, a little bird lands on his back. Angus tries to shoo the bird, but the bird takes up residence and without giving the ending away, makes Angus' life better.

The Read more …

The Three Pandas Animated Storybook by See Here Studios LLC

This is a delightful interpretation of Goldilocks and The Three Bears - featuring a cute little Chinese girl named Mei Mei. In The Three Pandas, Mei Mei takes a tour of the pandas home, just like the familiar story of Goldilocks. However, in this version, Mei Mei has the manners to send an apology after running off into the forest. The pandas respond by inviting her over to fix the chair and share a meal. I really liked this twist.

The book itself is innovative in digital form, combining animated photos of the pandas, Mei Mei and their surroundings along with computer generated graphics - like the enchanting scenes of the bamboo forest. The music is also beautifully done, enhancing the Read more …

Puss in Boots - The Great Adventure by Lucia Masciullo

From Blue Quoll, creators of Mr. Wolf and the Ginger Cupcakes, comes another whimsically re-imagined folk tale, this time featuring the story of Puss in Boots. The tale follows some of the familiar classic, but the overall narrative is entirely unique. The ogre can 'transform into all animals' and 'has a thousand chests of gold', but in this retelling, he has one very unique soft spot, a tiny kitten he loves and loses. This little cat grows up to become 'Puss in Boots', the pet of one rather musical son of a local miller.

As a digital book, this one is delightful, with nice narration, music and truly beautiful illustrations. The hand-drawn, water colors featured in this story are Read more …

Clever Tales by AppGrade

Clever Tales is a collection of 40 folktales and is designed as a 'reading app' that presents original tales, in English or Russian, for reading aloud or for older readers to enjoy by themselves. According to the app's description, the writers of these tales are "people of different nationalities, ages and professions ... from different countries: Russia, Israel, Holland, Colombia, United States, Germany, Lithuania, Ukraine and others."

As a 'digital reading app', this book is packed with reading choices, all tales written in the 'once upon a time' style with a variety of moral lessons and topics. The tales are also not scary in any way, making it a great source of bedtime stories for 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 …

Dentist Bird: A West African Folktale by LITERARY SAFARI INC

Dentist Bird: A West African Folktale by Literary Safari Inc. is a wonderful story to share with young children and is a must have app for anyone teaching diversity, compassion, and empathy. The book was written and retold by Michael Richards and has been illustrated by David Wolobah, he applies oil paint to denim with knife and palette for a distinct and original style that enriches the story ten-fold. If you are as intrigued with the art work as we were, watch this moving interview with the Liberian artist here. The awesome story contains surprising visuals and a cacophony of animal sounds throughout, couple this with a Read more …

Jack and the Beanstalk by Nosy Crow by Nosy Crow Limited

Fans of fairy tales have flocked to Nosy Crow's beautifully produced apps since the launch of the Three Little Pigs app in early 2011. Jack and the Beanstalk follows in the same tradition as Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella, featuring familiar stories with humourous dialogue (in speech-bubbles, which kids love) and reader-driven features that make for an immersive reading experience. The Grimm aspects of this and the other tales are softened, so there is nothing especially scary, although the characters can be a bit 'sassy' or impertinent at times. This dry humor, coupled with Ed Bryan's beautiful artwork and seamless animation, are a winning Read more …

Hansel and Gretel: Lost by PB&J Publishing

What makes a great book app? There are many viewpoints on this, but for me I think a great book app has to tell a good story and use animation and interactive elements to further the comprehension of the words in the story, rather than simply distracting the reader. One book app which meets my criteria for a great book app is Hansel and Gretel: Lost by PB & J Publishing.

The interactive elements actually move readers through the plot, which is a real win for beginning readers. The reader makes Hansel throw his breadcrumbs, and watches as little forest gremlins gobble them up. The reader helps Gretel climb the tree to see the witch’s gingerbread house. They later Read more …

Wild Fables by Razeware LLC

This interactive collection of Aesop's famous fables contains one free fable - "The Crow and The Pitcher" with in-app purchase available for additional stories. Only two are currently available, but more are promised from the developers. The other two currently available include "The Fox and The Grapes" and "The Lion and The Mouse". Traditional versions of the fables are used in innovative ways that take full advantage of the iPad.

Aesop's fables really do have a timeless quality and were among my favorites as a child. The tale of the crow and the pitcher is really remarkable in this edition, though. According to the story, the crow wants a drink, but the pitcher is only partially full and Read more …

Papa Gatto by PicPocket Books

"Long ago, in a time when it was not unusual for animals to speak ..." begins Papa Gatto, a richly illustrated Italian folktale. It is a heart-warming "Cinderella" style story, originally published in print in 1995.  It features an elegantly written re-telling by author/illustrator Ruth Sanderson, who's lavish oil paintings are matched only by her exquisite storytelling abilities. The reviews at Amazon.com for the print title bear this out with a 5 star average.

But this fairytale ends with the heroine turning down the marriage offer, or at least post-poning it. In a twist on traditional fairytale messages, the book ends on an empowering note for young Read more …

Owl And Cat - Cute Storybook Based On Famous Edward Lear Poem by Mofables sp. z o.o.

In 1871, Edward Lear published The Owl and the Pussycat, a nonsense poem, as part of his book Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets. It is a beautiful piece of poetry, beloved and set to music frequently, including a 1960's version by Stravinsky. My favorite is from a record I had as a child, by Carly and Lucy Simon on the album, "The Simon Sisters Sing for Children". It makes a lovely accompanyment to this app, and is available on youtube.

As a nonsense poem, this is a delightful one by Lear, featuring a romantic mariner tale about an owl and a cat that sail for a year and a day. Lots of made-up words are included, like bong-trees and the piggy-wig. According to  Read more …

Who Will Rule? [HD] by Emantras Inc.

This is a really enjoyable tale that is based "loosely on Australian Aboriginal folklore," according to the developer's description.  It's important to me as a parent to expose my child to interesting stories from around the world, so I was immediately willing to look past some of this book's technical oddities.  And it's worth it for a book that really has a lot of of attractive features and above all a wonderful moral tale.

Right from the first page, my son gravitated toward the colorful artwork in this book.  He was delighted to see rain drops when he tapped on the clouds & hear an amazing variety of animal sounds from the colorful creatures.  The illustrations of Read more …

The Blue Jackal - An Interactive Tale from Panchatantra by Jain Pranay Kumar

This is a tale from the Panchatantra, which is an ancient Indian collection of animal fables. According to Wikipedia, "the original Sanskrit work, which some scholars believe was composed in the 3rd century BCE, is attributed to Vishnu Sharma. It is based on older oral traditions and is the most frequently translated literary product of India. These stories are among the most widely known in the world."

In this tale, a jackal who is 'lazy and wicked', falls into a vat of blue ink and uses his unusual appearance to become king of the jungle. He intimidates the other animals, claiming he is 'God's messenger'. But one day he shows that he is just an Read more …

Viewpoints: The Blue Jackal and the Lion by KidsAndBeyond, LLC.

A personable little blue jackal appears on the title page of this book, speaking directly to the reader. "Find out how I, a jackal, became king of the jungle, and how the lion, the old king, feels. Tap me to begin the story," he says. Told in animated scenes with a fair amount of dialogue not present in the text, this title feels very modern in its storytelling approach despite the ancient fable it is based on.

The jackal, the story explains, accidentally falls into a pot of blue dye and as a result, he is temporarily made king of the jungle by the other animals who do not realize his 'blueness' hides nothing but an ordinary jackal. The displaced king has his own story, told after the tale Read more …

Three Blind Mice HD by PicPocket Books

This ebook app is based on Wooleycat's Musical Theater, a book with audio cd that was previously published in print. The book contained 10 stories with songs, and this tale of "Three Blind Mice on Vacation in Africa" is one of the story-songs from the original 2003 edition.

The song and story are whimsical, telling a variation on the fable of 3 blind men and an elephant. Each blind man (or mouse in this case) touches a different part of the animal, and all mistake it for something else. The story is often used as a analogy for the importance of communication and why we need to see the 'whole picture' to really understand something.

As a musical tale, this storybook is very catchy. The Read more …

Fable: The Lion and The Hare by Green Broccoli, LLC

This delightful fable is told with a modern twist. The story starts with two kids in Chicago waiting for their grandparents to arrive from India. The grandfather brings the "Panchatantra" to share with his grandkids. It is a collection of Indian fables retold the world over, with stories about animals that teach many lessons. In this tale, a hare outsmarts a fierce lion by tricking him into thinking another lion is in a well. The lion dives after his foe, leaving the forest safe for the animals.

The illustrations are bright and colorful, featuring modern scenes from a suburban Chicago home, mixed with more traditional pictures of the story "The Lion & the Hare". The book 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 …

Fable: The Doves and The Hunter HD by Green Broccoli, LLC

This is another tale from the traditional "Panchatantra" told with a modern twist. The story starts with two kids in Chicago spending summer vacaction with their grandparents who are visiting from India. They head to the park to play and have a picnic. After eating, Grandpa offers to tell a story while they are feeding a flock of birds near a park bench.

The tale of The Doves and the Hunter comes from a collection of Indian fables retold the world over, with stories about animals that teach many lessons. In this tale, a hunter uses a large net to trap a flock of doves. The the king of the doves stays calm and suggests the flock all fly up in unison. The flock gets away and then lands Read more …

Aesop's Thinking: The Ants and the Grasshopper by Oddeye Co., Ltd.

This version of Aesop's The Ant & the Grasshopper is one of many digital books featuring Aesop's fables to debut on the iPad. There is a WIDE variation in the quality of digital book apps based on public domain stories like Aesop & Grimm Brother's tales. Many are not even narrated by native speakers or have syntax, grammar or other linguistic errors in the text of the stories.

This tale, however, is not only free (it's the first release in a series called Aesop's Thinking that retails currently for $4.99), but is also an excellent remake of the classic story. The wording is odd a couple times (the grasshopper will 'drop tears' instead of 'cry' if he doesn't prepare for winter, 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 …

A Saltfish Story HD by i-storybook

A Saltfish Story was a surprise favorite in our house this past week. My son loves salt, so the topic was one he was immediately interested in hearing about. The story is a well laid out folktale of unknown origin (and I searched to figure out what culture this little jewel came from, but even the developer's site says "coming soon" so if anyone recognizes it - let me know!). Basically it's a tale about why the sea is salty and about how Salmon came to be forced out to sea for their whole lives until they return to die.

The whole story is very fun, with salt snowing onto three rather odd little figures (a tiger, bunny and an animal I cannot identify, but it's got hooves and is dressed Read more …

Monkey And The Crocodile (for iPad) - by Niyaa by Kunal Desai

This instructive folktale is from the Panchatantra, a collection of Indian animal fables. It tells the story of a crocodile that tries to outsmart a monkey in order to eat his heart. The monkey is fooled at first but turns out to be the smarter of the two. The story is simple enough for children to understand but also filled with complexities that make for good discussion.

As a digital title, this one has a nice array of settings, including a home button and help menu. It features easy to read text as well as simple, arrow-style page turning. I found the narration included to be a bit 'over-expressive' but that can be a matter of taste. In addition to the English narration, this app has an Read more …

The Shoemaker and the Elves - An Interactive Children's Book by TabTale by TabTale LTD

The Shoemaker and the Elves is a very interactive book app with a stripped down version of the Grimm's folktale. The production values on all of the interactive elements are high, making it very intuitive & fun.  However, the story, told in rhyme, sometimes falls flat, missing some of the warmth of the original tale. The interactions are plentiful though, making this an app that kids will love to play with over and over.

In this version, the shoemaker & his wife are poor but happy ... the story doesn't make clear how they are in need beyond this, but the shoemaker goes to bed with one pair of shoes unfinished. When he wakes up the pair of shoes is 'fixed' although the story Read more …

Magic Thumbelina by Oleksandr Pogrebniak

Magic Thumbelina is a gorgeously illustrated version of the classic children's story about a little 'thumb' sized girl who goes on a journey among the small creatures of the forest. She meets frogs, a mouse, a mole (whom she almost marries), a swallow she nurses back to health and finally, a forest elf who turns out to be a prince (whom she does marry, of course).

This digital title is lightly animated and interactive with high quality music throughout. It is not narrated and is a bit difficult to read aloud smoothly for want of a bit of polishing in the text. The story follows the tradtional tale but seems to have been poorly edited, missing prepositions and displaying some interesting Read more …

Goldilocks and the Three Bears - Children's Classic Stories by KwiqApps by KwiqApps Inc.

This book, for iPhone/iPad, is based on one of the most popular English language folktales. Goldilocks and the three bears has been beloved by many children and their parents for over a century, at least. When I went to get the itunes link for this book, I had to sort through dozens of other versions of Goldilocks. I have not seen them all, but this ebook is a nice version if you are looking for good storytelling with a tiny amount of animation. The book is not interactive, but sticks to the familiar version of the story in a way that young children will enjoy and older kids (6-10) might like as a book to read by themselves.

The illustrations have a unique quality, similar to the other Read more …

Little Fox Gets His Wish by song jie kun

"Little Fox liked to be naughty at night. His biggest wish in the whole world was that the darkness would last a very long time," begins this retelling of the traditional fable about the fox, the rooster and the sun. But even when little fox 'gets his wish' fulfilled, he is not happy. A moral story about being careful about what you wish for unfolds in this digital tale available in English & Chinese.

This book app is solidly made with simple but sufficient settings that include a home button and arrow page turning. Crisp, native narration is well done, although the text itself is very small and difficult to read at times. Interactive elements allow readers to move the sun to change the Read more …

iReading HD - The Fisherman and the Golden Fish by AppleTreeApp

The Golden Fish contains a simple retelling of a folktale about a fisherman who catches a golden fish that can talk and grant wishes.  The fisherman's wife is very greedy, so when he returns to tell her about the encounter, she berates him and makes him ask the fish for more and more, until she wants to be ruler of the sea and have the fish do her bidding.  The characters, like in most folktales, are very one-dimensional, with the fisherman being hen-pecked and his wife being insatiable.  I find this tale a bit harsh in its treatment of women, but it does have a clear moral about not being greedy.

The book is narrated only, without any interactive or animated elements.  Read more …

North Wind by Random Universe LLC

This book is based on one of Aesop's Fables, The North Wind and the Sun. It is a tale about a contest between the sun and the wind to see who is more powerful. This version sticks to the traditional tale very closely and is nicely animated but in a minimalist way. The graphics are cartoon-like and appealing. The narration is clear, although it is often overshadowed by very intense classical music.

The story itself is easy enough to understand, but has an awkward-sounding quality to it, like it's a translation into English from another language. For instance the wind challenges the sun by saying, "When I blow wind, I can move clouds and blow leaves on the ground, but you can only make 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 …

Kiwaka Story by Landkae, Lda

We begin our story in Kiwaka, isolated deep in the African jungle, where we meet four fantastical animal friends:

  • A brightly colored toucan, Tuka
  • A slithery, sly snake, Shaka
  • A pink elephant, Kudi
  • A bright, blue crocodile, Kwilu

The four made up an unlikely group of friends who loved to spend nights stargazing together. The friends knew that the stars in the sky formed constellations, but they didn’t know much about them and they wanted to learn more. Tuka remembered a legend that fireflies carried the light of the stars…maybe the fireflies in Kiwaka could tell the friends more.

Sure enough, the fireflies were able to share stories with the group of friends and begin to Read more …