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 …

The Penelope Rose HD by Mobad Games

"A very long time ago, when fish could fly and pixies in pointy hats were hiding everywhere, roses had no color at all," begins this captivating fairy story. The Penelope Rose is like no other fairy story you've read, though. It feels like a classic tale while also breathing life into an otherwise flat screen.

The developers, Mobad Games, created a 3D effect that transports the reader into another world, simply by tilting the device. This mythical land is also the perfect setting for this magic - giving the impression that you have a window into another world in your hands. The roses and other elements in the forefront of every picture stay still, giving the scenes a sense of Read more …

Gone Wishing - Interactive Storybook by FI Produkcija D.O.O.

This is an exceptional new book app featuring an original story about a company, called Best Wishes, that lies below our world, taking the discarded wishing-well coins, birthday candles (and other 'wishing' objects like wishbones) to make the dreams attached to each object come true. These pleas are answered in an alternate universe where mythical characters (like fairies & genies) use potions and incantations to work magic - filling wishes for toys, ponies and even cotton candy.

The starring character, Jacob, is a little genie with a big problem. Unlike all the other employees of Best Wishes, Jacob can't seem to grant a single wish. Special effects and polished animation make Read more …

Elfishki and the Giant Cake (English + Russian) by Pavel Mamaev

In this beautifully animated tale, readers are introduced to a new world - Rainbow Island (in the middle of the Sparkling Sea). This magical world is inhabited by little people, called Elfishki. "Some of them could fly like butterflies and some could swim like mermaids. They shared the island with animals who could speak and trees who did not talk, but understood everything." This place, where miracles happen 'every day', is home to Elfizz & Maggie, two Elfishki shop owners who do not get along.

On the important occasion of Mr. Thomas' birthday, Maggie needs to bake a large cake but has trouble with her oven. Elfizz is the only other person with an oven large enough, so she reluctantly Read more …

Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue - A Magical Adventure by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

This cute digital book tells a portion of the story from the Disney movie, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue. It is nicely narrated by Cindy Robinson and includes crisp graphic scenes from the movie. The story is also lightly animated and interactive, with sparkles of light to indicate where to tap. The fairies are a bit scantily clad, but this shouldn't be a big surprise to anyone familiar with the latest Disney movies.

The highlight of the book is a feature that allows the child to blow into the microphone of the device, triggering a burst of 'fairy dust' that sparkles across the screen with a nice 'tinkling' sound. This feature is on about half the pages and was my preschooler's Read more …

Cinderella - A Princess Story by One Hundred Robots

This digital version of Cinderella is retold based on one of the most popular versions of the fairytale, written by Charles Perrault in 1697. Perrault added the pumpkin, fairy-godmother and glass slippers to the classic tale, making this a very familiar rendition of the rags-to-riches story for modern audiences.

As an app, this book is very well made and has a nice page turning style with arrows that trigger 'scrolling' to the next scene by moving the perspective to another part of the house rather than simulating a traditional page turn. The app has several simple sound effects on each page and a few light animations throughout the story. Classical music also accompanies the Read more …

Princesses Learn Chinese - Snow White by early languages llc

This free app comes with one storybook, Snow White, and lots of extras to go along with it. The story itself is not especially enhanced, although it is a very unique app overall. The goal of the app is to "expose children to their first Mandarin Chinese words and expressions, through stories, games and songs."

The storybook itself is a nice, traditional version of the fairytale about a girl who runs away from her evil (and vain) step-mother to live with a bunch of dwarves. There are some lightly interactive elements like tapping on images to hear sound effects (e.g. birds chirping and dialogue in English & Mandarin). What really stands out is the way the story intersperses Chinese Read more …

The Nutcracker Musical Storybook by Andy Zibits

This is a gorgeous presentation of the Nutcracker story with lots of animated elements and some light interactivity (mostly sound effects). In storybook mode the page dims to let you know to turn the page. This title is not narrated and initially I found it a bit difficult to navigate, although you can return home by tapping the top of the page and an assortment of numbered ornaments functions as a page guide. The ornaments transform after being tapped or when a page has been read. Text appears on the page and then disappears on it's own, so some young readers may find this difficult to enjoy on their own if they don't read the text in time. While I really enjoyed this tale, especially the 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 …

Cinderella HD - SO by So Ouat

Cinderella HD is a nicely abridged retelling of the classic tale of an oppressed step-daughter who triumphs with the help of her fairy godmother. The highlight of these titles when presented by So Ouat! is the animated storytelling. Characters in the book act out the scenes from each page. There isn't anything interactive about the illustrations, although tapping the screen does stop and start the narration (which highlights as read).

The only true interactivity present in this book is in the 'extra' - a unique drop down of each page's text that can be explored with several words highlighted. Tap on any of these words to get either a definition or image to help young readers Read more …

The Snow Queen Musical Children's Interactive Storybook Adventure by Phantom 5 Music Group

This is a theatrical presentation of a much-loved fairy tale that feels like a cross between Disney and Japanese animé. It has exceptional production values, five full musical scenes and exquisitely detailed illustrations. The Snow Queen, published in 1845 by Hans Christen Andersen, is about a fight between good and evil. It features two children (a boy and a girl) named Kai & Gerda. While this story is one of the longest fairy tales in Andersen's collection, it is also considered by critics as one of the best, despite being a less familiar tale for many American readers. [See synopsis tab for the full plot.]

As a digital book, this app is well-made with ample settings Read more …

Quigley the Caterpillar by Nation9, Inc.

Quigley the Caterpillar is an ebook whose appeal lies in its winning story rather than flashy animations, sound effects or games. Author Erin Turnley's story and Pamela Goodman's illustrations are beautifully brought to life as an app by Nation9, an artist's collective. It's a simple story with a positive message which parents will enjoy sharing with their children.

The star of the story is of course Quigley, a nice green caterpillar with 100 legs. He does what caterpillars mostly do - eat leaves. One day Quigley encounters a butterfly and is bewitched by her beauty and grace. Apparently no one had "the talk" with Quigley as he has no idea what changes await him. 

Unable to let go of Read more …

Surf Angel by Grids Interactive, LLC

From the creators of the 5-Star hit, The Truly Great Noodle, we have another lovely app from Grids Interactive. This one is very different, though. It is an ethereal title about a fairy that surfs in the night sea, looking out for danger while children sleep and sea life frolic. Told in well-crafted rhymes with very light animation but no other enhancements, this is a perfect title for bringing sweet dreams after pajama storytime.

This title is solidly made and has nice settings that even allow you to record your own narration. The narration that comes with the book is nice, although a bit soft, making it difficult to hear in a noisy environment. Sound effects in the background (of ocean Read more …

Sarah little fairy and grandma by Sanoen Publishing s.l.

Sarah is a little girl who loves her grandmother, but when Grandma Mary comes to live with her family because of Alzheimer's Disease, she has a lot to learn. This book app demonstrates through storytelling the common issues children face when an older relative or grandparent is suffering from this type of memory loss.

Sarah listens to the explanations from her parents, but she is also helped by a magical fairy doll. Remembering that people with Alzheimer's often remember things from long ago better than recent events, Sarah becomes a hero when Grandma Mary wanders off. Sarah shows that 'knowledge is power' by suggesting the family search near grandma's childhood home, where they find her 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 …

The Adventures of Peter Pan by Chocolapps SAS

The Adventures of Peter Pan is a nicely abridged retelling of a classic tale. It captures the magic of Neverland, the Lost Boys, pirates and the boy who would never grow up. The highlight of a classic tale like this, when presented by So Ouat!, is the animated storytelling. Characters in the book act out the scenes from each page in short inset videos next to the text. There isn't anything interactive about the illustrations, although tapping the screen does stop and start the narration (which highlights as read).

The only true interactivity present in this book is in the 'extras' - a unique drop down of each page's text that can be explored with several words 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 …

Rapunzel Classic Story HD by KwiqApps Inc.

This version of the fairy tale "Rapunzel" is well-written and nicely narrated.  The book does not have any additional features, but it is has simple settings for narration and easy page turn using arrows.  The story itself has lovely graphics that have a patchwork-quilt quality, reminiscent of several layers of fabric prints cut into shapes to make up most of the images.  It reminded me a bit of the felt-board stories we use in my son's preschool.

My son enjoyed the story, but it was a bit over his head at times, like when the man tries to get the Rapunzel plant to 'satiate' his wife's cravings.  The text of the story was also very small despite ample blank space on the Read more …

Olivia Acts Out by Polin8, LLC

Olivia is an adorable pig introduced to readers originally through the print books of Ian Falconer a decade ago. This digital title is adapted from a print book published in 2009, based on the more recent animated series from Nickelodeon. In this story Olivia has the chance to be in the school play but is disappointed that she is in a minor role. She handles it with grace and a bit of star power in the end.

The book is solidly made with swipe-style page turns and text in a drop-down box. The text is rather small and I would have liked to see highlighting as narrated, but I did appreciate that you could remove the text to see more of the whole picture. The app also contains an animated video Read more …