X is for X-Ray (iPad) by Touch Press LLP

With titles for older readers like The Elements, The Wasteland, The Solar System, March of the Dinosaurs and more, Touch Press has a reputation for innovative apps that take exploration to a whole new level. X is for X-Ray is no exception, showcasing the ABCs in a unique way that goes beyond the usual alliteration found in alphabet books. It's truly a book that a child could enjoy at 4 and again at 14 for totally different reasons.

The cover page is an A-Z list of images that bounce, spin and make noise to attract tapping fingers. Start anywhere, from Accordion to Zipper, or page through the objects alphabetically using a nice guide that appears at the bottom. To see each item, simply tap Read more …

Dinosaur Train A to Z by PBS Kids

By now you probably know what a big fan I am of the PBS Kids show Dinosaur Train – seriously how smart is that to combine trains and dinosaurs! My daughter has watched this show since it was released a few years back. I love learning about dinosaurs right along with her as it has been while since I studied about dinosaurs in school. My favorite was always the Stegosaurus because he was a plant eater and had those cool spikes on his back. PBS Kids recently released Dinosaur Train A to Z is the ultimate dinosaur app from the hit PBS KIDS show Dinosaur Train. The app not only helps kids build reading skills, but also will encourage the exploration of life science and natural history Read more …

Numberlys by Moonbot Studios LA, LLC

"Once upon a time there was no alphabet, only numbers," begins this highly polished app from Moonbot Studios. The story is told in a theatrical way, with exceptional computer animation and interesting games built into the storyline. The look of the app is very dark, in monochromatic tones that remind one of a black & white propaganda film about a communist country during the cold war. It even feels omnious at times, with dramatic music and a narrator with what sounds like a combination of an eastern European accent and a computerized voice.

This grim world is transformed by five number-named characters that have a dream ... to go beyond numbers and create a world that is more expansive Read more …

Endless Reader by Originator Inc.

A sight-word adventure awaits young learners in this follow-up app to the popular Endless Alphabet. Adorable monsters scatter the letters of each word after the user taps it. You can then reassemble the word by dragging the letters to the tracings. The word is then used in a sentence with sight words that the user needs to drag to match their outline. An animated sequence demonstrates the meaning of the word and sentence alongside crisp, clear narration. As the letters and words are dragged to match their outlines, they animate and wiggle, along with funny eyes and mouths. This is an app that brings smiles and giggles to all ages with ample positive reinforcement to keep children moving Read more …

My Beastly ABCs by Duncan Studio, Inc.

My Beastly ABC’s by Duncan Studios is a delightfully designed ABC app designed to teach and entertain children with an interactive storybook format featuring vibrant illustrations and animations that children and their parents will love.  The app, designed by Duncan Studios features 39 pages, hide and seek as well as interaction on each page as well as a variety of hidden mini games.  Best of all, the app is narrated or “performed” by Jim Dale, from Harry Potter, so immediately people are drawn in by the performance of the book.  The interactive story features a little boy who goes from morning when he gets up on the “wrong side of the Read more …

Endless Alphabet by Originator Inc.

Endless Alphabet, from developer Originator Inc., opens to a big monster’s mouth full of word cards that can be chosen by swiping or by browsing words under a particular letter. The selected word is narrated, then the letters are jumbled out of place by a raucous herd of adorable monsters who run across the page.

When letters are touched to move back into place, the letter chosen comes alive wiggling and makes the phonetic sound for that letter. When it is placed correctly, the narrator says the letter name. If a letter is placed incorrectly, the letters make a subtle “nuh, uh” or “whan, wan” sound. Maybe the sound is more “eh, eh.” I have Read more …

Juno's Musical ABCs HD by The Juno Company

Juno's Musical ABC's is one of the nicest ABC book apps in the App Store. Not only does it present the alphabet in a fun and engaging way but it simultaneously teaches about dozens of different musical instruments, sounds and musical concepts. It also features high-quality sounds to go along with every instrument introduced and delightful graphics of adorable felt characters. The narration is also lovely, and that familiar voice turns out to be none other than Brooke Shields.

Each page features a letter as well as simple interactivity that allows the child to touch the images on the page to see and hear the word (like applause, bassoon, clarinet, etc.) that is emphasized in that page's Read more …

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

Alphabet of Dinosaurs from the Oceanhouse Media's Smithsonian Collection - is a beautifully illustrated alphabet book about dinosaurs, prehistory and science. 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 Read more …

Dr. Seuss's ABC by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Dr. Seuss's ABCs is a fun book app, pairing great sound effects and narration with the whimsical illustrations that make Seuss books instant classics. The book shows off the alphabet with crazy made-up seussical animals like the Fiffer-feffer-feff and Little Lola Lopp.

In print, this book has been a favorite of toddlers and their parents since it's publication in the early 90's, with many reprints including a board book version. Like the other titles from Oceanhouse Media, this book has an eye on educational enhancements. For the read-a-long effect, each word is highlighted as it is read. You can also tap on any word to hear it spoken, even in the 'read-it-myself' mode.

For Read more …

My Very Own Name by I See Me! Inc.

Based on the personalized print book from I See Me! Inc., this beautifully illustrated digital app allows you to enter a name to literally create a different story for every child. The story then unfolds with letters of the alphabet spelling the child's name. The reader 'catches' the letter by tapping on it as it pops out from behind one of the images, ending with a celebration of the child's name with of all the animals.

There is also a neat extra with the storybook that has 64 different animals that pop out while trying to 'catch' the alphabet. This gives the book tremendous replay value, since a child will need to read it several times to find them all. All the animals found are placed Read more …

Hairy Letters by Net Educational Systems Limited

Hairy Letters is more of an educational game than a storybook, but it does have a lot in common with a print alphabet workbook. It is produced by a UK based company that has been making educational software for children since 1999. They work closely "with the Bristol Dyslexia Centre to ensure that all the Nessy titles are especially helpful for dyslexics." In this app they have created a wonderful bundle of activities to keep a child engaged in learning for hours.

This title has a clean & intuitive interface with three sets of alphabet tiles, each with their own unique role. In uppercase mode the tiles simply say the letter's name aloud. In 'trace' mode, the child is shown the Read more …

Metamorphabet by Vectorpark, Inc

Metamorphabet is a app about the alphabet. Kids can touch or drag a letter on each “flashcard” to watch it morph into a sequence of images that begin with the letter’s sound. For instance, poke the letter the letter B and watch it grow a beard. Prod it again and a beak pops out. Tap the beak and a bevy of beautiful bugs fly out. The transformations are wacky, humourous and totally engaging.

How it works

Children work their way from A to Z. Touch a letter and the first transformation is subtle – it becomes a three dimensional and you hear the name of the letter (heralded by a cymbal and drum). Touch it again and the letter transforms into something completely Read more …

A to Sea by Joshua Wilson

A to Sea by Josh and Donna Wilson of The Happy Dandelion is not your ordinary ABC book. Every page, including the cover page, has beautiful interactive graphics combined with soothing narration and audio. The book app comes in both iPhone and iPad versions, this review is of the iPad version.

Each letter in the alphabet is represented by a sea creature with an anecdotal description. You can either read the text on your own, or click on it to have it read it out loud. Click or tilt the screen to move the sea creature, see an animation, and/or hear sounds. Clicking on the bottom of the screen brings up a small banner with an interesting fact about the sea creature. These extra facts Read more …

The Lonely Beast ABC by James Kelleher

Based on Chris Judge's popular print title, The Lonely Beast, this book app is simple but beautiful and filled with unique interactive elements that will surprise and delight young fingers. In the print title, republished in 2011, a cute 'beast' travels far and wide to find friends so he won't be lonely anymore. Simple illustrations in silhouette and crisp clear text make the original print book and this new app well suited to toddlers and preschoolers.

There are a lot of alphabet apps on the market, but this one is especially well-designed artistically, with a different approach to the interactive scene on each of the 26 pages. Children will love the chance to pop bubbles, play the drums Read more …

Hallie Heat Science Experiments and Phonics by Creative 3, L.L.C.
Please see previous review of this series, Gilbert Gas Science Experiments and Phonics - Alphabet Adventure For Kids - http://digital-storytime.com/review.php.

Recommended!

This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.


AlphaBooks for iPad by Cavallo Media Group, Inc.

Letter Buddies AlphaBooks is a packed app that is really more like 24 little books rolled into one. Each letter is illustrated with cute feet, hands & happy faces. They also have a personality trait assigned to them, like Chatty C and Furry F. The illustrations, combined with high quality photographs make for an alphabet app that stands out in an otherwise crowded market. It is also well-designed with educational goals in mind.

Each letter is covered through pictures and words, along with short sentences using the word correctly. For instance, in A, there is an 'Airplane' with the sentence, "The airplane is in the sky." A simple 'flash card' style image of an airplane is featured Read more …

ABC Gurus by Colto srl

Incidental learning is what this new app is all about. Toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy playing with their ABCs as they color and animate the letters of the alphabet.  A new twist on standard alphabet apps, ABC Gurus by Colto is a great app for young fingers. It's intuitive to use, creative, and educational. Children swipe the globe back-and-forth to view the entire alphabet in either uppercase or lowercase letters. After selecting a letter, children let their creativity run wild. 

How the App Works- 

A selection of five colored crayons stands on the right side of the screen. Children freely decorate the letter, adding patterns and designs with their Read more …

Gilbert Gas Science Experiments and Phonics - Alphabet Adventure For Kids by Creative 3, L.L.C.
Gilbert is one of 26 Quirkles who loves to experiment and has a vivid imagination. Gilbert Gas is a gleeful Quirkle who loves to have fun and help out all the other inhabitants of Quirksville. The app brings us on the journey of Gilbert Gas and his friend Gary Goat as they learn all about carbon dioxide.We see Gilbert and Gary having a regular day out like any other friends, which inevitably leads to some sort of mischief and natural curiosity. Gary Goat opens up a dropped bottle of gola which leads to a minor explosion of gola all over himself and his friend Gilbert. Gilbert teaches his friend Gary all about Carbon Dioxide and the way it is used in fizzy drinks and in plants to help make Read more …
Connor the Cockatoo HD by Cazag Creations

Connor the Cockatoo and the letter C is a great little book to emphasize which words start with C.  It has whimsical hand drawn illustrations of most of the "C" words mentioned in the story, to give visual reinforcement, along with text that highlights as it is narrated.  This is a very short book that is the first in a series of books, each about a different letter of the alphabet.  If it were a print book, I can imagine it as a toddler board book.

This story is interactive, with several subtle animations and lots of sound effects.  My little boy especially liked the whimsical alligators rowing their boats and the little crab that sits shivering on a rock near a Read more …

Baby's First Monsters: ABCs by Zachary Fisher

Baby's First Monsters: ABC is a unique approach to a children's alphabet book. Instead of the traditional objects found in alphabet books, like toys and cute baby animals, this title has an assortment of "legendary creatures and mythical monsters". There is even a complete wiki-sourced glossary to help out those less familiar with the mythical world. The creatures range from an 'Angha' (mythical giant bird with head of dog & claws of lion) to a Zilant (A winged snake/dragon like creature).

The app is separated into 3 sections plus the glossary of terms. There is the "Alliteration Academy" which contains 26 pages with each animal representing the letters of the alphabet. Then there Read more …

Theo and the Letter Eater by codemachine.it

Theo and the Letter Eater brings retro-space charm to a story about a strange creature that eats letters to learn to read. The star of the book is Theo, a little guy in a diving/flying costume that looks like a space suit from a 1950's sci-fi movie. When Theo gets an S.O.S. from the mayor, the little superhero must solve the mystery of the 'letter valley'. Letters seem to be disappearing from the vocabulary, making it difficult for people to talk properly.

So Theo sets out, diving in the ocean and then flying around the land to find the problem. He spots a strange creature taking bites out of the alphabet in the famed 'letter valley'. It turns out the creature, Briccolino, wants to learn to Read more …

AlphaBELCH - A Children's Book About Burps by Stephen White

AlphaBELCH is just what it says it is, "A Noisy A-to-Z Book About Animals Who Burp", but it is also much more! This title, originally created for the iPad, is full of really fun animals with a button on every page to hear them burp. A second button on every page can be tapped to hear the text narrated. This means if you want you can easily read this without narration. The narrator is great though, so either way this is great alphabet book, with all the educational value that parents expect. 

It also has something kids love - the chance to laugh at funny sounds of bodily functions. And they are really funny and unexpected, like the fish that burp underwater and the firefly with Read more …

Snugly ABC Flip Flap - Children's Book by FrogDogMedia LLC

The Snugly ABC of Smoochy Names is a "mix & match book to shake & flip" that has three words to describe each picture based on all 26 letters of the the alphabet. The animals pictured for each letter are cute in creative ways, making for a hilarious trip through the ABCs. Find an elephant dressed in a clown suit, pictured holding a birthday cake under "Charming Cream-cake Clown" or an otter with a ukelele & bangles on his flippers with the words "Underwater Ukelele-playing Uncle".

Each 'page' has expressive illustrations that capture the book's theme very well. The book is also solidly made with easy swiping for page turn (or flip). You can also 'shake' the device to get the Read more …

Zany ABC Flip Flap - Children's Book by FrogDogMedia LLC

The Zany ABC of Naughty Names is a "mix & match book to shake & flip" that has three words to describe each picture based on all 26 letters of the the alphabet. The animals pictured for each letter are truly 'zany' (and not really 'naughty' if parents are worried about this), making for a hilarious trip through the ABCs. Find a horse dressed in his cowboy-best, pictured with a heart-shaped pillow under "Chaotic Couch-Cushion Cowbow" or an owl with underwear & hip glasses with the words "Ultracool Urban Underpant-Owl".

Each 'page' has expressive illustrations that capture the book's theme very well. The book is also solidly made with easy swiping for page turn (or flip). You can Read more …

Mutant ABCs HD by DIEHARD Studio

Mutant ABC's is a cute Alphabet book staring crazy cartoon letters. The illustrations are expressive and engaging, with monster-shaped ABCs with feet, hands, crazy mouths and eyes that dart to and fro. My little boy enjoyed this app so much he was a ball of giggles.

The audio narration is distorted in a fun way, although this could be a difficulty for very young children learning basic articulation. Each letter also features a cute mystery envelope. Tap on the envelope to see a word that starts with that letter and accompanying image. It features a tiny bit of animation (limited to eyeballs moving) and simple settings, like page-turn arrows (shaped like puddles), a home button and narration Read more …

Wendy Whale HD by Take 2 Ventures LLC

This is a simple but fun alphabet book with computer graphic illustrations and text that highlights as narrated. Each of the 26 letters of the English alphabet are represented. There is a tiny bit of animation on some pages, along with interactive elements that reinforce early literacy.

This app is solidly made from PicPocket Books, including settings to turn off narration. There is no page guide or home button but otherwise this is a very easy app to navigate. Simple swipe-style page turning along with a large & easy-to-read font make this a great title for young learners.

This title was published in print in 2009 but is now out-of-print. As a digital offering, this is a nice little Read more …


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