Loose Strands: Unlockable Edition by Darned Sock Productions Inc

Loose Strands, by DarnedSocks Productions, is a choose-your-own-adventure style story app with dozens of different possible adventures. This imaginative tale is about a boy who is trapped in world where he can never go outside and everything (and I do mean everything) is made of hair from the family's barber shop. Tween readers can be picky about what they want to read and difficult to motivate, so you can try out this app for free (for iPad), with a sample chapter. The rest of the book can be unlocked to the full storybook by an in-app purchase, which is very worthwhile for a title that has nearly 2000 pages. The full storybook app is also available separately as a paid app for iOS, Kindle Read more …

Tangled: Storybook Deluxe by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Disney brings their film adaptation of the Rapunzel story to life in this digital book, pairing animated clips from the feature film alongside a nicely abridged version of the movie's plot. For lovers of princess stories, this app is a real treat that includes much more than a book, providing lots of entertainment for young readers in the form of games, puzzles and coloring pages based on the Tangled movie.

My child loves this Disney film, so he was delighted to see a few animated scenes from the movie interspersed throughout the book. This is one of the ways this storybook stands out from many of the other movie-themed book apps available. This title also has a nice choice of Read more …

Oh, What a Tangle! by Digital Leaf Ltd.

Oh, What a Tangle! is a new interactive e-book from UK developer Digital Leaf and writer Anita Pouroulis. It's the story of Kiki, who has hair that flows "like a waterfall of chocolate milk" – until she develops a small tangle. That small tangle grows until Kiki's hair quite literally takes on a life of its own.

The illustrations by Monika Filipina Trzpil are beautifully imaginative – muted colors and quirky lines make for great facial expressions, and although I won't give away the solution to Kiki's tangle, I can tell you that Trzpil's imagining of an angry mom is inspired.

The interactions are pretty muted, too, which I prefer – my daughter stayed Read more …

Curly Hair, Straight Hair HD by 33 Loretta Kids' Books LLC

"Messy hair, bedhead hair. Grumpy in the morning hair," begins this cute, although quite short storybook app. Rhyming verse continues to tell the tale of the little girl's day as she goes through each routine (and so does her hair). From brushing to riding on the bus all the way to bathing and getting ready for bed (and everything in between). 

The book is nicely narrated although the audio has a slight echo. There are also slight animated touches in every scene, but nothing too distracting to the storyline. The book is not interactive, although the text does highlight as read and comes with a comprehensive vocabulary list of over 50 words present in the story in both English and Read more …

Luca Lashes and His First Haircut by Luca Lashes LLC Apps

Luca Lashes is a sweet and simple storybook series where children's firsts are explained and celebrated. This is a good resource for toddlers & preschoolers in particular. These titles are unique in their focus on helping young kids navigate confusing and sometimes frightening first experiences. Luca Lashes is a little boy, preschool aged, with 'magic eyelashes' that help make him brave. In other books within the series, Luca goes on a plane trip, learns to swim and even goes to the dentist for the first time.

This title, Luca Lashes and His First Haircut, is about the first time Luca needs to get his hair trimmed. His mom explains what will happen when the hairdresser cuts his locks. 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 …

Disney Storytime by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

This storybook app is a collection of titles based on Disney animated classics. The initial app comes with three titles (Monsters Inc., Tangled & Toy Story). Each book is a basic retelling of the plot of the movie with little embellishment. There is nice narration (with highlighting), music and recordable narration options, along with other easy-to-use settings, although page guides would be a nice addition. Children will enjoy their favorite movies in book form, but don't expect lots of bells & whistles. There is no animation, extras and only very limited interactive sound effects, which can be turned off in the settings menu. Note: Contains ads & links for in-app purchase Read more …

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy by KIWA International Ltd

Hairy Maclary is a cute terrier mutt who stars in a series of popular books by New Zealand author, Lynley Dodd. This title is the first in the series, published in print in 1983. The story is told in rhyming verse and has a very simple plot, about Hairy Maclary and his doggie friends on a 'trot' around town. While the story is simple, the combination of expressive words, delightful illustrations and polished narration in this app edition, nears digital perfection.

Light animation makes the animals come to life, along with a tiny bit of interactivity in the form of sound effects, mostly barking. The enhancements are fun, but simple enough to make this a great bedtime title. The Read more …

Hairy Maclary, Scattercat by Penguin New Zealand Pty Ltd

Hairy Maclary is turning 30! This cute terrier mutt stars in a series of popular books by New Zealand author, Lynley Dodd. First published in 1983, the short, rhyming titles follow the antics of a quaint village, with everything revolving around the personalities of some very cute pets. Featuring repetition and simple sentences, these are great early readers, although the proper names of the animals are complex (e.g. Greywacke Jones, Pimpernel Pugh, Slinky Malinki).

Scattercat is about Hairy Maclary's feline nemesis, Scarface Claw. The story is told in rhyming verse as the a mischievious Hairy Maclary trots about town chasing all the town's cats. The tables are turned in a way that is 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 …