Bobo Explores Light by Game Collage, LLC

Bobo is a cute little robot that guides readers 6+ through a fascinating series of over 100 pages of facts, videos, physics demonstrations and interactive goodies relating to the science and history of the study of light. The app is thorough, educationally sound and deeply engaging. It is a non-fiction title with over 20 topic pages that open up three additional windows with so much content it will take you well over an hour to get through it all ... but you won't notice the time because this is such an absorbing book.

The beauty of this app is that it can be used in so many ways. You can explore the pages one by one, or jump to a topic you're interested in or are currently studying. Topics Read more …

Moon and Sun - children's book by Marcio Monteiro

Moon and Sun - Children's Book by Marcio Monteiro tells the story of two lonely children, the Sun and the Moon. They live separate lives, never imagining the other exists. Until the day that Moon climbs down from the sky and finds the Sun. The two become fast friends, enjoying the days and nights. Follow the two friends as they learn the joys of friendship and the ensuing stars that are born.

This storybook is filled with whimsical illustrations that tell the tale of two new friends. As children engage in the story, they tap to find smooth animations as Sun and Moon dance and play. Tapping in other areas of the page elicits a relaxing swirl of dots, and occasionally other small Read more …

So Many Stars – Andy Warhol by Bugaboo International B.V.

This extraordinary picture book app is based on the board book by the same name, published in print in 2013. So Many Stars is a whimsical and nearly wordless celebration of the artistic vision of Andy Warhol. According to the developers, the "So" series of illustrations created by Warhol was intended to:

" ... explore the concept of ‘So,’ including You Are So Big, You Are So Small, So Sweet, and I Love You So. Filled with sweet phrases that will enthrall parents and children alike, Warhol’s So Many Stars is a terrific introduction to an iconic modern artist. These illustrations are bundled in a unique ‘So’ book for children."

Featuring beautifully timed Read more …

Mr. Sandman by hocusbookus

Not many books get five star reviews on this site, let alone five stars in four or more of our nine categories, but this standout title from Hocus Books does this and so much more! Featuring a charming story alongside beautifully crafted animation and unique interactive elements, Mr. Sandman is our favorite book app (so far) for 2013.

The story begins with a young boy and his mother at bedtime. The child says he is afraid of the dark. "Don't worry my darling, I will wind up your music box and leave your light on. The Sandman will be here soon." Tap the music box to hear a 'winding' sound effect and then a lovely tune that launches a touching tale that is told as much in text as Read more …

Leonard by Ink Robin, Inc

From the developers behind the 5-Star book app, Will & Kate: A Love Story, comes another hit. Attention to detail, polished enhancements, and top notch pacing make anything by Ink Robin a must-download app. This title treats readers to a story about a little boy with a BIG imagination. Leonard wants to make friends, but after moving to the country he discovers that it is harder than ever to find anyone to play with. He (and his blue cat) have many whimsical adventures before Leonard decides to build a friend instead (robot lovers will enjoy this plot twist).

From the moment you open this app, there is something to amuse, even on the cover page. A small 'lever' appears on Read more …

Astrojammies by Demibooks Inc.

Astrojammies is well-requested at bedtime by my little astronaut, so maybe yours will like it too? Traveling along with Jimmy, the little boy in star-covered jammies, is a real treat in this imaginative book. Shake the iPad on the first page and Jimmy's jammies shimmer with stars (lock the screen orientation first, though).

As the book continues, the reader can interact by spinning Jimmy, flicking him around the universe, making him dodge comets, tapping on a rocket that takes off, touching a planet that oozes or revealing a space baboon's face on a planet. But by far my favorite page is the one where several planets hover calmly ... until you touch them or move the iPad, then they Read more …

Auryn HD - Where Do Balloons Go? An Uplifting Mystery by Auryn, Inc

"Where do balloons go when you let them go free? It can happen by accident," begins this whimsical book app, told in the first person by a young child who says enticingly, "It's happened to me." My little boy fell in love instantly with this story, identifying with the subject matter ... what child hasn't wondered what happens when you let go of a balloon?

With exquisite illustrations by Laura Cornell, this app is based on a print picture book authored by Jamie Lee Curtis and published in 2000. Auryn has taken this well-crafted story, and made it into a digital delight; it is filled with dozens of tappable interactive elements on every page, superb animation, and Read more …

Who Stole The Moon? - Interactive e-book for children by Windy Press International Publishing House, LLC

Bertie is a little boy who loves staring at the moon and stars through a large window in the ceiling of his bedroom ... until one day the moon goes missing. In this enchanting and beautifully illustrated storybook app, readers will find out how Bertie solves this mystery, with the help of some nocturnal friends. Based on a 2010 print title, this app features over a dozen options for translation, perfect for foreign language learners. Who Stole the Moon? is also a 'must-download' title for lovers of bedtime book apps in particular.

Ingenious interactive elements include story-related gems as well as lots of unique features, like pages that scroll up and down, alongside more linear arrow page Read more …

Mr Glue Stories by Chadlington ABC Enterprises Ltd

Mr. Glue Stories presents a visual feast in app-form and is an especially unique and polished digital reading experience for kids 4 and up. It features a choose-your-own adventure style storybook, with choices for the young reader throughout each of four separate stories, all included in-app. This title is also illustrated lavishly in an edgy cartoon-style and is full of great options like recordable narration and coloring pages. You can even add personalized touches like the child's name and gender.

Mr. Glue Stories has a talented team with author Amelia Thorne and illustrator Jose Fragoso. Their kid-pleasing storybooks are worthy of an earlier era in publishing. All four would make Read more …

There’s No Place Like Space! (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat) by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Young readers will love learning with There’s No Place Like Space!: All About Our Solar System. This non-fiction title, published first in print in 1999, was created to give children ages 5-8 the chance to explore a most engaging and factually accurate tour of our solar system, with a familiar tour guide, The Cat in the Hat. The learning library series was created in the late 1990's by Random House with a talented team of illustrators, writers & educators, who mimic Seuss's rhyming verse and quirky illustrations beautifully.

And now the Cat-in-the-Hat Learning Library books are available as enhanced books, with the help of  Read more …

Alphabet of Space - Smithsonian Alphabet Books by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Alphabet of Space from the Oceanhouse Media's Smithsonian Collection - is a beautifully illustrated alphabet book about the stars, planets and space. The print version of this title was released in 2011 along with an audio CD. As a book app, this title sparkles, giving enormous value over its print counterpart, including narrated text that highlights as read. This book series fills a great need for digital book apps with non-fiction educational content. The books selected so far have been well vetted as print titles, making it easy as parents & educators to select these digital books with confidence.

Each title in this series takes the original print images and Read more …

Twinkle Twinkle by Super Simple Learning, Inc.

Twinkle Twinkle is an adorable book app with music video of the classic song included. The computer animation in this title is superb, accompanied by a simple but sweet story about an owl making friends with a star in the night sky. The title is also interactive, letting the reader trigger most of the animated scenes.

Extras include a page with 20 stars to tap and hear the count aloud (although no numbers appear, the stars do animate and 'spin' as they are tapped). There is also a 2+ minute animated music video of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star that is very relaxing with delightful piano music. The book itself is presented with short animated clips that play briefly before each page's text Read more …

Finn's Paper Hat HD by Tizio BV

Finn's Paper hat is a charming, original storybook app about a little boy and his newspaper hat. Little Finn has a wild imagination, taking the reader on a trip sailing the seas. Subtle interactivity and animation make the story come alive on every page with unique things to tap and explore. You can tap to create more snow, hear the whale talk or to get Finn's boat to sail across the sea. And on the final page, my favorite, you can drag the sun right out of the sky to reveal a moonlit night, filling it with flickering stars everywhere you tap.

The well-crafted story is told as much through the illustrations as the text, featuring a combination of line drawings and 'newspaper' print. The Read more …

The Wrong Side of the Bed by See Here Studios

The Wrong Side of the Bed is a wonderful, original and beautifully illustrated ebook that is delightful in both 2D & 3D. The book is about a little boy who wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. And I mean the REALLY wrong side of the bed as in under the bed, and then he walks on the ceiling. The book continues in this manner with Mott riding on the ceiling of the school bus and then flying into space before returning to earth at the end of the day. It ends with the little boy being very careful to get up on the right side of the bed the next morning.

When this book recently made our top 10 bedtime book list, I re-read it with my son and we discovered that the developer had added Read more …

Cooper Edens One More Star by Lucid Dream Atelier Inc. Apps

In print, One More Star was the sequel to the 1979 title by Cooper Edens, Night Rainbow . The physical books are classics, making for apps that are as beautiful as they are lyrical. Gorgeous illustrations from the original art-books are paired with Edens' poetic lines. The story itself consists of uplifting responses to a series of melancholy suggestions, like "If the stars burn out ... Button up the night against the cold."

These whimsical passages are touching and touchable. Set up more like an iBook than a typical app, readers scroll by swiping with a pageguide bar at the bottom of the screen. Images are not overly animated, but they do move, allowing younsters Read more …

Peterkin Meets A Star HD by Take 2 Ventures LLC

I am re-reviewing this truly wonderful little book now that the developer, PicPocket Books, has updated it with high-resolution images worthy of the iPad. It is such a delight to see this story's crisp watercolor illustrations!

Peterkin Meets a Star was published in print in 1985 by Random House Books for Young Readers.  It is out of print (unless you have an iPad), although when I checked Amazon for ratings of the print version, I did find used copies available for sale and three 5-star reviews from people clearly excited to find any copy of a much sought after favorite.  I vaguely remember reading this book to the kids I babysat - the year sounds about right. :)

Peterkin, a Read more …

My House by Marianne Dubuc by WingedChariot Press

This new release from Winged Chariot brings Marianne Dubuc's delightful print title published in 2010 to the iPad. It's not so much a story as a journey, told in either English or French. One's whole world as a child centers around the home, and in this title the reader is taken on an imaginative trip from the hill where a little house stands all the way into deep space and back again.

Told with simple elegance and perfectly timed narration, this title exemplifies how a story can be lightly enhanced with just the slightest amount of interactivity and still create an immersive digital reading experience. Beautiful, hand-drawn colored-pencil etchings pulse slightly and can be moved on each Read more …

Moon Man Dan: Story & Night Light by Pickled Pepper Productions Ltd.

"It's time for bed ... sleepy head," begins this highly interactive and animated storybook app for children six and under from new developer Pickled Pepper Productions. Moon Man Dan and the Telescope will have young readers and listeners deeply engaged as the narrator takes them on a journey into outer space. Dan is in charge of the moon's light, shining so bright in our own night sky. He has help from "The Nooms" (fuzzy little blue aliens named Noomni, Noomnoo & Noomnar) and three cows, called "Moon Moos".

One night, a telescope falls to the moon, leaving Dan and his crew to devise a way to get it back into the sky. Using cows and a reader-assisted creation (a teeter-totter), they Read more …

Mum's Cronky Car by Digital Leaf Ltd.

Mum's Cronky Car from UK developer Digital Leaf is a humorous digital book for ages 4+ which features the lamenting of a young girl who is embarrassed to have to go everywhere in the family's old broken-down car. The book is yet another title from Anita Pouroulus and it's illustrated by Jon Lycett-Smith. It's similar in style to her other works, Pancake Pandemonium and Oh, What a Tangle but lacks some of the whimsy of those efforts.

With its bumper bar held on with a bit of rope, a bent antennae and mismatching colours, the Cronky car is visually not up to scratch. It also refuses to start without a mighty push and tends to leave bits behind it as it Read more …

Cozmo's Day Off for iPad - Interactive Storybook by Ayars Animation

This is one of those books that takes interactivity to a whole new level.  There are over 100 different places in it's mere 10 pages to amuse kids, including several games embedded in the story.  The animation and overall graphic style reminded me a little of the movie, "Robots". And in some ways, this book is basically like a movie you can touch and shake, triggering all sorts of animation and sound effects.  The animations are definitely of the 'wow' variety, so this is a book that children will want to play with as long as they are allowed.  I put 30 minutes for time, since that was the longest I let my child play with it, but I suspect it could occupy a child for Read more …

Jubitron the Girl Robot: The Lovely Little Picnic by Curious Media Inc.

Curious Media has created an inspired little app in Jubitron, featuring fun interactive elements and story enhancements that take the picture book to a place 'out of this world'. On every one of this book's nearly 20 pages, there is an unique way to engage the reader with the story. From twirling the world beneath the feet of Jubitron to flinging her spaceship through the clouds, this is definitely a title that will capture the interest of young explorers, especially girls.

The story has well integrated and polished enhancements, however it is a bit light on plot. The characters embark on an adventure, but it doesn't get more complex than a picnic interrupted by rain. I must admit, though, Read more …

I Am An Astronaut by Tizio BV

From Tizio Publishing, this personalizable title allows you to take a picture of your child (or use a photo) to show them as an astronaut inside the book's pages. It is short but sweet, featuring light interactivity and animation. Among the fun things to tap on this title's eleven pages is a cool 'control panel' for a rocket ship. It could even be the digital replacement for that old-school toy, the toddler 'busy box' (a toy with lots of buttons & levers).

Seeing your child's picture in several scenes (or their name, which appears on a flag), is really fun; kids reading or listening will be especially engaged as they anticipate seeing themselves in each scene. You can enter a child's Read more …

Twinkle Twinkle Hear My Prayers by Alexis Purcell

From Alexis Purcell, author of The Turkey Who Forgot How To Gobble and Twinkle, Twinkle Nighty Night, there is a new app out for Christian families and educators about prayer. This title stars a little girl named Leni, saying her nightly prayers. With sweet illustrations and lovely narration, this lightly interactive and animated tale brings sweet dreams while teaching a simple method to remember this prayer for PEACE.

Parents and educators should be aware that this is a religously-themed app with clear Christian themes, including many images of the Christian cross. The prayer itself is non-denominational and could be used, in theory, for any Judeo-Christian family. As the tale is 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 …

How Far is UP by E Sargeant

How Far is Up? is a new and mesmerizing storybook app about three friends who wonder how far it is to the moon, sun and even to the faraway galaxies beyond our own. Rusty, Buster and Ting explore the concept of "up" in a familiar, earth-bound world ... from the top of a cupboard to a tall tree, and then to the peak of a mountain. Soon they look farther, beyond the well-known to our greater universe, expanding their view by traveling in a rocketship. The reader is taken along on this exploration of the stars, planets and space, with a wonderful mix of facts and musings.

The story unfolds with perfect pacing alongside lyrical verses and some of the most beautiful piano music I've ever heard Read more …

Twinkle, Twinkle, Nighty Night by Alexis Purcell

Twinkle, Twinkle, Nighty Night is a sweet book featuring very light animation and simple interactivity that is well tailored to the storyline. Crisp, colorful illustrations with lots of fun details will appeal to children as the nice narration highlights along with the text. The storyline is simple but charming, as the reader gathers items (happy dreams) to deliver to each of the animals (who are having trouble sleeping). Interactivity is perfect for little ones and is not activated until narration ends. A great length and topic for bedtime, although activity apps can be a distraction for young children at night. A page guide would be a nice addition, but parents will be pleased to find no Read more …

Wish upon a Star HD by Genera Games

Wish Upon a Star introduces readers to a surreal world of dreaming villagers in this new title from the Touchybooks collection. This interactive and lightly animated book app tells a tale about dreamers who long for better lives. When mysterious 'falling' stars make their dreams come true, each of the four main characters discovers that the things they left behind weren't so bad afterall.

This app features interesting interactivity alongside color-drenched graphics. The book alternates between pages with just text and wordless pages with illustrations and interactivity. It is solidly made with arrow page turning (in the cool shape of flowers). Beautiful, but haunting music accompanies Read more …

Following a Star by Siena Entertainment LLC

This is a top notch app for imaginative storytelling! A young boy notices a star fall one night and attempts to find it as it falls behind the mountains. In his quest, he meets a cat and they go together to the "Tower of Time" where they are able to restore the star to the sky. The app has nice graphics and background music along with nice narration that highlights word-by-word.

This title, from StoryChimes, has a style that I don't find especially appealing overall, but this is one of their nicest offerings. There is a 'chime' at the point you need to turn the page and text is in a clear font that scrolls at the bottom of the screen in what is sometimes called 'karaoke style'. Simple arrow Read more …

A Christmas Fairy Tale by Uzi Refaeli

This is a short but sweet fairy tale about a count that meets a Christmas fairy (whom he falls in love with & marries). But the count violates the fairy's one rule and she disappears leaving the count to die without ever seeing her again. A constellation of stars now represents their love according to the story, although the explanation lacks depth overall. Light animation and story-related interactive elements round out this title. Simple settings include arrow page turning, home button and sparkling hints for interactive elements. Text is in a small but clear font that highlights as narrated. Overall this is a unique digital folktale with a Christmas theme.

This title is one of over Read more …

Billy the SpaceCat - Narrated Children's Story by Ardit Bajraktari

The story of Billy the Space Cat is a fun read for kids with a message about not giving up on your dreams.  It is a sweet story about a cat that wants to fly and after many failed attempts, gets to go up in an airplane, instead.  This story has crisp graphics with a charming & easy to follow story.  It is narrated and has some sound effects (not interactive) that start on each page (i.e. a meow, sound of a rocket, spashing, etc.).

The narrator of this book seems to have taken tranquilizers before reading, though, since the narration is so slow that it almost has a bedroom-voice quality to it.  Oddly, the narrator speeds up as she gets into her stride later in the Read more …

The Girl in the Spaceship - Interactive eBook by No Ink, Inc.

This original book app features interactive and lightly animated elements that are fun, although not particularly related to the storyline. A planet, much like earth, receives a mysterious visitor who gives the creatures she finds color and names. This 'girl' from the spaceship is an interesting character but not one that is very well developed.

The app features graphic illustrations and futuristic sound effects that give the app an 'other-worldly' feel. The app, from the self-publishing platform Talespring, is well made with simple arrow page turning and an easy to read, generic font. Sound effects inlclude high-tech sounds and birds chirping. Graphic elements are entertaining but not Read more …

Nimbus Littling & the Flu from Nebtune 2, HD by KwiqApps Inc.

Nimus Littling is a science fiction story presented with ethereal computer graphics and a simple format that has images that are brought into focus as the narration and music play. There is no animation or interactivity ... only a tale, told in rhyme, that will amuse young readers ages 8-12, older than the typical picture book crowd.

The story is about an alien spaceship that crashes into earth, although the 'earthlings' are pictured more as elf-like creatures, with Nimbus in the lead. The alien culture is very similar to the earthlings, with a language that is English with A/O and P/B switched, not unlike pig-latin and other kinds of made up languages children like to Read more …

Ready Jet Go! Space Explorer by PBS Kids

Note: This app is narrated without text to read along and formatted more like a game than a book.

Ready Jet Go Space Explorer lets us join along with Jet and his friends as they explore and play in space. There are games and coloring functions along with star charting capabilities that may just keep my kids from making off with my phone when we are out camping. Not that I’d take my phone camping. That would be silly. But I digress…

This app opens up with Jet asking us if we’re ready to explore. Almost immediately he asks us to find some constellations, telling us that we can explore the sky by swiping on the screen. We explored the sky for a bit this way, tapping on Read more …

Snot & Fluff - A Space Adventure by OhNoo Studio

"On a distant planet, in a small cottage, lived two friends - the ever sniffing Snot and his hairy buddy, Fluff," begins this adorable book from OhNoo Studio. Tap the arrow to turn the page and two large arms grab the screen to move you to the next scene. What follows is a fun-for-all-ages app with instant appeal. It features a hunt for hidden stars, a key and other interactions that will rivet young viewers. It also has a deeply satisfying ending that reminds youngsters that "everything is much more fun when you have somebody to share it with." This lesson transfers well to playing with the app. While it's delightful played alone, it's even better shared.

Snot & Fluff - A Read more …

Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System by MINILAB LTD

Blast off with Professor Astro Cat in this delightful new learning app from Mini Lab Studios in partnership with their sister company, Flying Eye Books, an award-winning children’s book publisher. Professor Astro Cat's Solar System features fun facts about all the planets in our solar system. Presented in a book-game hybrid app, this content is not only educational but also deeply engaging. Kids earn medals as the learn, including answering True/False questions in a rocket game that is so fun they barely realize they are being tested. My 9 year old was enthralled and especially enjoyed the chance to build his rocket as he progressed through the levels.

Navigation 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 …

My Spacecraft – Rocket Science for Kids by urbn; pockets

With My Spacecraft – Rocket Science for Kids by urbn; pockets kids can go on a knowledge trip to space! Kids can become an astronaut and learn a great deal of informative facts with this fun, colourful and interactive app made for kids 6 to 8. Urbn; pockets are the creator of other great apps like This is my Food – Nutrition for KidsThis is my Weather – Meteorology for Kids and This is my Body – Anatomy for Kids.

Kids can suit up and learn great facts about being an astronaut, rockets, shuttles, space stations, the solar system, the universe and get involved using the many interactive points through each learning section. In the rocket Read more …


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