Sofia the First: Story Theater by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Sofia the First is a new character featured in a new Disney Channel television show out this year. She is the first princess specifically marketed to children as young as two, although anyone with a little girl will tell you that the Disney Princesses have already enchanted the toddler set without any help from little Sofia. Her story is very sweet, and thoughtful in many ways with a message about valuing what is on the inside, not the outside of a person and highlighting qualities like kindness, generosity, loyalty, honesty, and grace.

In this app, readers will find a full storybook with exceptionally polished animation and very nice interactivity that is relevant and well paced. Read more …

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by Moonbot Studios LA, LLC

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore was a short animated film released to critical acclaim in 2010. The gorgeous film comes to life in this digital book app in a way that might even top the film's reception. It's just that amazing, giving the reader an immersive experience that makes other book apps with 'Wow' factor pale by comparison. Developers should be warned that the team at Moonbot Studios has just raised the bar.

The story follows the adventures of Mr. Morris Lessmore, a rather sad little fellow who experiences great tragedy before re-discovering the magical world of books. Every page of his adventure is imminently touchable, even the storm that carries his grayscale Read more …

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 …

Two Left Feet by RESIN PTY LTD

An exceptional storybook in print has arrived in digital with just a little more enhancement than your typical book app ... meet Rufus, a sweet and hardly scary monster, created by author Adam Stower in print in 2004. In the paper version of this storybook, a well-crafted and beautifully illustrated title previously published only in Australia, the story of a little monster with two 'left' feet emerges. Basically, Rufus can't dance, but "as everybody knows, monsters just love to dance" and Rufus shows off his best efforts at the "Grand Ball". In the end, a girl (isn't it always a girl that saves our hero?) arrives on the scene to provide (spoiler alert!) her two 'right' feet for a dramatic Read more …

Starting Shakespeare by Beyond the Backyard Productions Pty Ltd

Starting Shakespeare, by Deeper Richer, is a brilliant new addition to the app store; this 21st century rendition would make William proud. This app does what most teachers fail to do, make Shakespeare easily accessible to younger students and clarify the story-lines without ever giving up any of Shakespeare’s original integrity.

Starting Shakespeare explores both the world and work of William Shakespeare using two of his best-loved and most popular plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth. I admire this Australian based development team for producing this state of the art teaching tool and hope to spread the word far and wide. Get this this one out to the kids! Read more …

Three Little Pigs and the Secrets of a Popup Book by Game Collage, LLC

Three Little Pigs and the Secrets of a Popup Book is a phenomenal offering in digital form.  On the iPad, in particular, it is a unique book offering in a rather crowded marketplace.  If it hasn't been on your radar before, it certainly should be.  I am delighted to finally have a version of the three little pigs than I can whole-heartedly recommend! 

And while this version does have a very 'unsoftened' ending (not only do two of the pigs get eaten, but the wolf is also boiled alive), my four year old did not find this tale scary. I think for fairy tales about personified animals, you can get away with a lot more of the original story, especially if the grizzly elements Read more …

A Charlie Brown Christmas by Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

This is a top notch holiday app from Loud Crow Interactive, makers of the popular PopOut series. This app has a similar format with an assortment of fun additional interactive elements, like helping Linus throw snowballs or getting Charlie Brown to peer into his empty mailbox. Text is in several layers on many pages, with original voices from the Christmas special narrating the story as it highlights word-for-word. Lovers of the original Christmas special will want to download this title right away ... it is such a treat! If you haven't seen the special (meaning you've been living under a rock for the past 50 years), you will also not want to miss this spectactular title. Play jingle bells 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 …

Angelina Ballerina’s New Dance Teacher by HIT Entertainment

Now Universal App! Angelina Ballerina is an adorable mouse who loves to dance, appearing for the first time in 1983 in a series of 20 books by Katherine Holabird and Helen Craig. This app is based on the TV series that began in 2009 on PBS and was digitally animated, making for a perfect 'transmedia' presentation as an interactive digital book. Each page of this well-produced app has stunning animation that is triggered by the tap of a finger, letting children bring their favorite characters to life in a way that is breathtaking within the otherwise still page.

In this story, Angelina gets a new ballet teacher, Miss Mimi, and learns a lot about opening herself up to new ideas about dance. Read more …

Auryn – Van Gogh and the Sunflowers by Auryn, Inc

Van Gogh and the Sunflowers is an extraordinary app with unique interactivity. The characters in this book, based on a gorgeous print title published in 2007, are all in motion. Characters in the story run, work and paint in scenes that can also be viewed (just tap the settings button) with their inner-workings exposed. You can see the mechanism behind the motion in a way that is very similar to Three Little Pigs and the Secrets of a Popup Book - a very cool effect.

The book is about a boy named Camille who lives in a village where sunflowers grow wild. One day a strange man arrives in town and begins to paint. Camille's family befriends the poor traveler, Vincent van Read more …

Toy Story Showtime! by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Unless your child lives under a rock, they've probably fallen in love with the movie, characters and storyline behind the Toy Story series. This new digital title is based on a new plot not in any of the movies, told originally in a print title published in the summer of 2011. The toys are having a talent show in this tale, and Buzz is hoping to impress Jessie with his performance. But will he think up a talent in time?

As a digital title, this one is very solidly made with nice settings; easy-to-read text highlights as narrated and several great extras in the form of games extend the storytelling. These games are top notch, including a "Simon" style game with 4 colored buttons to follow Read more …

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving by Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, by Loud Crow, has taken book apps to a completely new level of sophistication! There’s so much to love about this app. From the opening screen, right to the end we were LOLing and smiling and were delighted when kids who didn’t know the characters were too!

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is the fourth Peanuts television special to be given an interactive spin from Loud Crow, an award-winning children’s interactive publisher based in Vancouver, BC. And believe you me, this is one app that will not disappoint!

Inside the app the pages are packed with Charlie Brown’s darling trials and tribulations. You’ll Read more …

Moomin, Mymble and Little My by Spinfy Oy

Featuring the classic illustrations of Tove Jansson, this app takes the original "Moomin" storybook and enhances it in ways that will bring fans to their knees. And for those uninitiated to the fandom of the Moomin, Mymble & My phenomena ... be prepared for a storytelling experience that is unique and quirky, but well worth the time spent getting to know these unusual Swedish cartoon characters. The app presents an introduction that is lightly enhanced with nice interactive and animated elements, but not staged to impress with features alone. The eccentric storyline is the real treasure here, discovered gradually as the reader gets to know the inhabitants of this unusual world. Read more …

Monsters University Storybook Deluxe by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Mike and Sully will soon return in Monster’s University, a prequel to Disney’s über-successful movie Monster’s Inc. In preparation for the movies’ release the developers at Disney Interactive have just released Monster’s University Storybook Deluxe, a universal app for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad that is certain to be a hit with kids who are anticipating the film’s release. As it begins, the story draws the reader in, inviting her to create an ID -– just like at a real college! Kids can also return later to create additional IDs for their siblings, friends, or even their stuffed animals.

The reader can also decorate her face with monster 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 …