Steam Train, Dream Train by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Published in print in 2013, this delightful digital book was authored by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, creators of the critcally acclaimed Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. With light animation and educational features like touch-to-hear text, Steam Train, Dream Train captures young listeners with a lyrical tale. Immensely rereadable, this story follows a sleepy-time train filled with animals heading to dreamland. From a dashing young rabbit to snacking dinosaurs, the various scenes will amuse young and old alike.

Extra features include the ability to record your own narration as well as excellent navigation with a nice visual thumbnail 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 …

Trains - Byron Barton by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Published in print in the late 1980's, the delightful simplicity of Byron Barton's illustrations have now arrived in digital. This app covers all the important aspects of travel by train, from the types of trains, cargo and passenger accomodations. Presented in bold colors with simple lines, these charming illustrations will win over any toddler or preschooler, especially those fond of transportation books.

This title is lightly animated and interactive, allowing the curious child to drag items around the sky view, tap to hear words or tap to name objects in the scene. Settings include nice volume controls, a home button, pageguide and even recordable narration options. Like other titles Read more …

Collins Big Cat: The Steam Train Story Creator by Harper Collins Publishers Limited

The Collins Big Cat series was created in the past decade by UK based Collins Education, the third-largest educational publishing house in the United Kingdom, and an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. The Steam Train based on the print title by Ian Whybrow, was published in 2009. According to the description:

"The steam train is pulling out of the station, it heads to the hills, into a rainstorm, through a tunnel and out the other side into the sunshine and to the seaside. Follow the rhythm and the rhyme of this simple poem and travel with the train on its wonderful adventure, beautifully illustrated by Rosalind Hudson." [Source: Amazon]

In digital Read more …

Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Railway by HIT Entertainment

Now Universal App! Thomas the Train is beloved by many children, from the animated television and movie productions, to the actual toy wooden trains that populate many of the 'toy rooms' across the globe. This digital book is based on the movie, "Hero of the Rails" released in 2009. The story in the book follows the movie plot and has Thomas and his friends help Patchwork Hiro, a broken down train, rise back to his former glory as a 'master of the railway'.

The story is nicely narrated with vivid images from the movie. These scenes have nice, slightly animated touches, like steam coming out of the trains, as well as some more animated scenes of the the trains moving along the tracks and the Read more …

Thomas & Friends: Diesels and Steamies by HIT Entertainment

Now Universal App! Thomas the Train is beloved by many children, from the animated television and movie productions, to the actual toy wooden trains that populate many of the 'toy rooms' across the globe. This digital book is based on the movie, "Day of the Diesels" released this year (Sept. 2011). The story in the book follows the movie plot and has Percy feeling left out as Thomas befriends two new Diesel fire engines. But the true meaning of friendship prevails when it turns out the new diesels are trying to take over the steamworks.

The story is nicely narrated with vivid images from the movie. These scenes have nice, slightly animated touches, like steam coming out of the trains, as Read more …

Thomas & Friends: Misty Island by HIT Entertainment

Now Universal App! Thomas the Train is beloved by many children, from the animated television and movie productions, to the actual toy wooden trains that populate many of the 'toy rooms' across the globe. This digital book is based on the movie, "Misty Island Rescue" released in 2010. The story in the book follows the movie plot and has Thomas needing to be rescued by his friends, who then successfully build the 'Search and Rescue Centre' out of Jobi wood.

The story is nicely narrated with vivid images from the movie. These scenes have nice, slightly animated touches, like steam coming out of the trains, as well as some more animated scenes of the the trains moving along the tracks and the Read more …

Roxie's Doors by oc graphics

Based on Doors, a popular lift-the-flap print book, Roxie's Doors makes the digital transition so beautifully, it's hard to believe it wasn't originally designed for the iPad. There are over "50 flaps to lift & explore", bringing new discoveries on every page. The illustrations are delightful and so detailed that you notice something new with every re-reading.

The talented author/illustrator Roxie Munro brought the print book to children in 2004. I was not surprised to find all 5-Star reviews on Amazon.com for it, too. As a digital title, the book is lightly enhanced with animation, but the interactivity is the real star of this show! There are fun things to discover under Read more …

The Amazing Train- Where the adventure comes to life-Full story book 3D by Shoham Drori

Featuring polished 3-D illustrations and computer animation, The Magnificent Travelling Palace is a real treat for young armchair travellers. The story follows four children on a magical train ride in Udaipur, India. The story is informative about the sights and sounds of this Indian city, including a rich tapestry of cultural references and beautiful music. There are even interactive "?"  that the reader can tap to get more information about traditional Indian foods pictured within the story.

The images for this storybook are beautifully rendered computer graphics that are crisp and colorful. There are even a few scenes that are lightly animated or use a panorama view to sweep over a Read more …

I learn with transportation: Sounds, words, colors, shapes, numbers, languages, and more ... by DADA Company Edutainment S.L.

Like a bright, colorful board book, this app gives toddlers and preschoolers the chance to match early learning concepts to images of fun vehicles. In animated scenes, young learners see and hear images for concepts that include sounds, words, colors, shapes and numbers. Solidly made with ample setting for navigation and controlling sound, this app is easy enough for the youngest child to navigate.

The app is lightly animated and interactive, too. Tapping on most of the vehicles brings a quick reward of sound effects, a change in the animation and verbal reinforcements. I found the narration a bit too "bright and shiny" sounding for my tastes, but I think it hits just the right note for the Read more …

KidsMag Issue 03 by Portegno SA

This app contains a short but cute storybook about two kids (Teo & Bianca) planning their family vacation. When they decide to go to the beach, readers get to help pack the suitcases and learn about sea life before the final chapter in their story about building a sand castle. With over 30 pages of activities, this is one of those apps that will keep a bored kid busy (and learning) for nearly an hour.

As a digital offering, this title is solidly made with ample settings to navigate and adjust the apps audio. The story and all activity pages have narration, so even pre-readers can enjoy this app. Illustrations are simple computer graphics but colorful and engaging in a cartoon-like way Read more …

Collins Big Cat: Around the World Story Creator by Harper Collins Publishers Limited

The Collins Big Cat series was created in the past decade by UK based Collins Education, the third-largest educational publishing house in the United Kingdom, and an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. Around the World, based on the print title by James Carter with illustrations from Cliff Moon, was published in 2007. According to the description:

"Traversing across the world by train, boat and plane, the two children in this story poem encounter the extremes of sun and snow travelling to Africa, India and China. The book begins with a poem, before revealing their journey's details, and repetitive questions encourage the reader to turn the page and continue Read more …

The Christmas Train - I Think I Can by Tricia Valeski

This is a cute story about a little train engine that helps a large train get back on track to deliver holiday gifts to children on the other side of a mountain. Perseverance pays off in this sweet Christmas tale. The app itself is solidly made & features a unique kind of interactivity based on the print 'magic ink' books. In digital form, these titles are a lot of fun, with each page containing two images and text - simply swipe your finger over the grey-scale page to reveal a second colorful page that triggers additional text. Otherwise the app is not especially enhanced, but has a great story, nice illustrations and quality narration to go along with the 'magic'.

This title is one of Read more …

The Cloud Factory by Dalmatian Studios, INC

The Cloud Factory, from Dalmatian Studios, is an exceptional fine-art book app for children (and adults) with a whimsical storyline about a grandfather and his granddaughter. A smokestack pumps out black and white line-drawn clouds with delicate classical music in the background as the app is opened. Text can be hidden or shown (no highlighting) and readers are intricately involved in this interactive storyapp from the first page. Young readers will get to tilt the iPad to pour in milk, rip open a flour sack and dump cotton into a mixture that is designed to make "clouds".

The sketches appear, colorless but full of feeling, as a little girl, Luna, rides with her own small suitcase in hand. Read more …

Little Critter Collection #2 by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

An exceptional new app for young readers (with ten books in one) is now available from Oceanhouse Media! This is the digital version of the print books, released from 1983 through 1994, by Mercer Mayer.

This collection includes the following digital titles (click on the title to link to our review):

Just Go to Bed

Just a Mess

Just Going to the Dentist

Just Grandpa and Me

Just Lost

Just Me and My Little Brother

Just Me and My Puppy

Just Shopping With Mom

What a Bad Dream

When I Grow Up

These titles have been beloved for years in print and get a new life in digital, including educational enhancements. For the read-a-long effect, each word is highlighted as it is read. Tap on any Read more …

Green Eggs and Ham - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Green Eggs and Ham is one of many titles to come to the iPad/iPhone from Oceanhouse Media. It is solidly made and takes the emphasis on sight words for 'learner readers' to the next level in this digital version of a Seuss classic. The story is narrated and features the original images from the book.

It also has lots of sound effects, including the sound of chewing and swallowing when Sam-I-Am finally realizes how much he really likes green eggs & ham. My son found this sound delightful, however I did find it pretty unpleasant. I'm not sure if that was the effect they were going for, but it certainly has kid-appeal. And thankfully sound effects can be turned off in the settings menu.

Read more …

I Wonder - Kids' Book by Ware's me srl

Readers are in for a treat with this lyrical tale about a little boy named Marco, traveling by train for the first time. As he passes each scene, he wonders to himself about the things he sees ... are there dads working in the high-rise buildings, do the birds talk to each other, and is the scarecrow ever scared himself? At the end, the train pulls into the station as another one is pulling out. Marco sees a little girl in the window of the passing passenger car and wonders, does "her heart beat as fast as mine ..."

Gorgeous illustrations are one of the highlights of this book app, along with lightly animated, interactive elements. These are fun, although not really tailored to the story's Read more …

But That Wasn't The Best Part for iPad by Jacob Rhodes

This book follows a parade for the International Banana Festival, a real event held in Fulton, Kentucky from 1963 to 1992. The story follows the different parade floats and other entries, saying, "But that wasn't the best part," at the end of each page. Then the final float arrives with a giant, wiggling bowl of banana pudding for everyone to share. My son loved the build up of anticipation for the 'best part' of the parade, and as a lover of dessert, he was delighted at the thought of a 'one-ton' bowl of pudding!

This ebook has easy page turn arrows at the bottom of every page and is nicely narrated. The addition of highlighting of text while read would have been nice, but otherwise it is Read more …


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