Lulu in Australia by ZANZIBOOK

Lulu is a little French girl who goes on adventures around the world with her cat, Zazou. This story is about their first trip in the series ... to Australia. The book is lightly animated and full of delightful interactivity that makes the reader a part of the story. Almost every page has elements to tap that move the story along or provide additional dialogue and information about the part of the world they are exploring.

The app is well made with lots of features, including a map that allows you to explore the story of their Australian travels in a non-linear way. The text doesn't highlight as read, but it is in a clear, easy to read font ideal for young readers. This book also features Read more …

In The Wild! Learning Library Collection (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat) by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

In The Wild is Oceanhouse Media’s newest Cat in The Hat Learning Library collection yet! It is a perfect set of four books that will get children excited about zoology, just in time for the new school year.

Safari, So Good! is a brand new book and is currently found exclusively with this collection. Children will take a journey deep in the jungles of Africa to learn more about familiar animals like elephants, cheetahs, rhinos. They will also meet unfamiliar ones that may surprise them like the kudu and the sickle horned sable.

If I Ran the Rainforest is an exciting book where children will discover that there are different kinds of rainforests. They will also learn that Read more …

Alizay, pirate girl by SlimCricket

Get ready for an adventure with Alizay the Pirate Girl! This app by French developer Slim Cricket Books takes children on a treasure hunt with Alizay and her father, Captain Rubber Foot. Together they will set sail to Wind Rose Island where they must complete several activities in order to find the treasure.

This book can be read in either French or English. It has two reading options: Read to Me and Read by Myself. It also has three difficulty levels to choose from. The harder levels will take more skill and time to complete some activities.

My two girls, ages 6 and 11, tested this app with me. The beautiful illustrations, interactive items, and animation right on the “cover” Read more …

Miles and Miles of Reptiles (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat) by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Young readers will love learning with Miles and Miles of Reptiles (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat). This non-fiction title, published first in print in 2009, was created to give children ages 5-8 the chance to explore the history and diversity of the reptile world, 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 Oceanhouse Media. Featuring light animation and Read more …

Tales from the Watering Hole – Interactive Children's Storybooks with Puzzles, Games, and Painting by Fat Red Couch, Inc.

"The Watering Hole is always good for a laugh," says Turtle to Bird, "But lately the humor has been drying up." So begins the first story in this trilogy, based on the print titles published in 2012 by the talented artist and adventurer Alex Beard. The bird, of course, is barely listening but flies off with the news that the watering hole itself is drying up, sending the Savannah creatures into a panicked version of the children's game telephone. The subtle humor and expressive animal characters make this a story that is as comical as it is instructive.

I had the pleasure of seeing Alex Beard speak (via Skype) on a panel of children's book authors last fall. His presentation was one of the Read more …

A Troop is a Group of Monkeys by LITTLE BAHALIA PUBLISHING LLC

Little Bahalia Publishing's first book app, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, is a short but sweet title featuring gorgeous illustrations with polished animation and well-crafted interactive elements. Each page has a different animal featured with the proper plural term for a group of each species. From a parliament of owls to a tower of giraffes, children will enjoy learning about the unique (and often comical) names for multiple creatures of any type. Among my child's favorites was the bloat of hippopotami and the quiver of cobras.

The story is simple, but well put together with subtle alliteration and nicely paced rhyming text. Colorful and engaging illustrations come to life with a 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 …

Little Fox Music Box – Kids songs – Sing along - Christmas Version by Fox and Sheep GmbH

Little Fox Music Box – Kids Songs – Sing along, by the incredibly talented author Heidi Wittlinger, an Oscar nominated artist, and the developer, goodbeans, has just been updated. This songbook app now fully supports the Retina display of the New iPad and “WOW-O-WOW” is all we can say! Never do the interactions deter from the music, they are divinely subtle and compliment every note sung!

This app is a sing-along songbook featuring more than 100 interactive elements and incorporating 3 songs, which guarantee to bring smiles to the faces of young and old alike! It is brought to you by the team that created the bestselling app “Nighty Night.” Read more …

Five Little Monkeys Wash the Car by Oceanhouse Media

This is another 'Five Monkeys' book from the beloved book series by Eileen Christelow. Like Five Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, this is an adorably illustrated ebook based on a print title published in 2000. When I checked the Amazon.com reviews for the print version I discovered that even the lowest rated reviews 'highly recommend' this title - the series is just that good. In digital form, these books are transformed with sound, interactivity and text that highlights as it is read.

In this story, the monkeys try to help mama sell their old beat-up car by washing, painting & perfuming the vehicle (it still doesn't run). Then they push it down the hill in an effort to get more 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 …

Peter Pan: Disney Classics by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

More than 60 years later, the 1953 Disney animated classic, Peter Pan, is still a favorite of children. Parents have the opportunity with this digital book to share a favorite from their own youth, albeit in a modern form. This story takes original images from the movie (and Golden Book issued in print in 1953 & reissued in 2007), and lightly animates them in a way that enhances the story without distracting from reading comprehension.

Unlike other Disney titles in digital, this one is not interactive, making it a great bedtime read if you can avoid the fun activities that are bundled into the app. Throughout the pages, small icons indicate extras that can take the reader outside the Read more …

Children's Book - Monkey & Croc by Jujubee Books

A cute monkey and a less-than-menacing looking crocodile star in this little digital book app for kids age 2-6. It is filled with gorgeous illustrations that tell the story as much as the words. The text of the story is comprised of very simple sentences, making this an ideal book for young children learning to read.

The story is also very cute. Monkey and croc appear to have a lot in common - they both live in the jungle, like to hide and ... they are both hungry. As the monkey heads for some bananas, the reader sees 'Croc' with his eye on the monkey (possibly to eat him for a snack). But after several pages of following the monkey with a hungry look, we find out Croc is also Read more …

Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

This is another 'Five Monkeys' book from the beloved book series by Eileen Christelow. Like Five Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, this is an adorably illustrated ebook based on a print title published in 2000. When I checked the Amazon.com reviews for the print version I discovered dozens of 5 star reviews - the series is just that good. In digital form, these books are transformed with sound, interactivity and text that highlights as it is read.

In this story, the monkeys are on a picnic with Mama and while she naps, they all climb into a tree and begin taunting a crocodile. One by one, they appear to fall into the river and get eaten with a 'SNAP!' This could be disturbing to both Read more …

Open Wide Snap by Fiona Treweeke

This cute, short title features a crocodile who tries to convince several animals in the jungle that he will not eat them if they will only help him clean his dirty back teeth. He gets no help from several creatures who don't trust him, but then he meets a fluffy rabbit who is willing to help. The two become friends. Open, Wide, Snap is told in simple, repetitive sentences perfect for young listeners & readers.

This title is solidly made with easy arrow page turning. It is very lightly animated with a nice educational & interactive feature that shows the name of everything pictured on each page with accompanying voice-over. The book is also nicely narrated (highlighting as Read more …

Hide Run Growl by Fiona Treweeke

This cute, short title features a tiger cub that is trying to hunt while his mother is injured. His mantra is "Hide, Run, Growl" (and swipe) as he explores his possible prey. Many creatures are just too big for him to consider pouncing on though. After passing by a crocodile, snake, giraffe and elephant, the cub finds an animal just the right size to try out his skill. Hide, Run, Growl is told in simple, repetitive sentences perfect for young listeners & readers.

This title is solidly made with easy arrow page turning. It is lightly animated with a nice educational & interactive feature that shows the name of everything pictured on each page with accompanying voice-over. Read more …

Jerry's Day Out by Ink Robin, Inc

Since app developer Ink Robin came on the scene last year, I have been a big fan of theirs.  Some of my all-time favorite storybook apps were developed by Ink Robin. If you haven’t checked out my review of Piccadilly’s Circus or The Hippo, The Rhino, The Elephant… And Me – you really should.  Both stories are wonderful and the illustrations in Piccadilly’s Circus are dreamy (and it is quite funny).  Ink Robin just released Jerry’s Day Out and it is filled with photographs around New York that the developers took themselves.  There is a really cute map that shows you all the main hot spots in New 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 …

All Different Colors by Jean Ruth by Merripen Press

If crayons came to life, what would they do?  What would be on their minds?  What would they talk about?  All the Different Colors by Jean Ruth and Merripen Press imagines that scenario.  It focuses on the color Gray.  Every other color in the crayon box has been used except for Gray.  This makes him feel quite left out and invisible until one day when he finally gets picked and used for a very special purpose.

The story opens up as the crayons wake up early in the morning.  They are all inside a crayon box eagerly waiting for their boy to come and use them.  I love how the author gives crayons faces and personalities of animals that represent 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 …

An Amazing Day At The Zoo by Imaginatronics LLC

This educational app is filled with over a dozen detailed, educational descriptions of zoo animals. In a window on each page, there is a video showing the animal in its natural environment. The videos play silently with a background of assorted animal noises. Each page is narrated by a little girl named Sarah who adds personal commentary to many of the stops throughout this 'zoo trip'. Videos can be seen in full screen mode with a quick two finger gesture, although the image is less clear in the larger view.

I found the narration nice enough, but it was a little too enthusiastic in a way that becomes grating on the listener over time. The book is educational though, and my son and I Read more …