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 …

The Little Mermaid - Auryn by Auryn Inc.

This digital book version of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson is based on the well-crafted translation by Anthea Bell with the breath-taking and ethereal illustrations of Lisbeth Zwerger. Anderson originally wrote the tale as a ballet in 1837. This picture book version was published in 1984 to rave reviews. It follows the original tale very closely, with no happy ending. The storytelling makes up for any disappointment, though.

This digital presentation takes an otherwise gorgeous print book and brings it to life. The story is told both underwater and above on land, with pages of the former that look and feel like they are actually submerged in the sea. The effect is Read more …

Nothing Ever Happens at the South Pole by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

This app does not yet have a written review. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how we rated this app in 9 categories.

Are you interested in becoming a guest reviewer for Digital-Storytime? Contact us via the link at the bottom of this page for more information! We plan to add written guest reviews & re-posts from other reputable blogs & app review sites for book apps we rate on our 9-point scale - starting in fall of 2012!

Wish for a Fish (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat) by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Young readers will love learning with Wish for a Fish (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat). This non-fiction title, published first in print in 1999, was created to give children ages 5-8 the chance to explore the exciting world of sea creatures, 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 …

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 …

Finding Nemo Storybook Deluxe by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

Disney brings their film adaptation of Finding Nemo to life in this digital book, pairing animated clips from the feature film alongside a nicely abridged version of the movie's plot. 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 hit movie.

My child, like most, loves Disney films, so he was delighted to hear the original voices from the movie interspersed throughout the book, along with lots of animation. 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 …

Jackie Junko by Springy Thingy

Jackie Junko and the Old Ship Yard is an app storybook about a mischievous young boat who wants to go on a dangerous mission across the water, like his father, but runs into more trouble than he bargained for. The world they inhabit reminds me of Pixar's Cars, except everything is a boat instead of a car. It is the first in a planned series of Jackie Junkie app-stories and it is iPad only.

What I like:

* The graphics are very, very good and unique. They are bright and colorful and give the feeling of interacting with a cartoon. Each page has water at the bottom so the reader can see what is happening under the boats. There are different fish and sea creatures, including my personal Read more …

Boats - 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 water-bound vessels, from the types of boats to the steps it takes to bring a cruise ship into a harbor. Presented in bold colors with simple lines, these charming illustrations will win over any toddler, 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 Read more …

A Shiver of Sharks by LITTLE BAHALIA PUBLISHING LLC

This is Little Bahalia Publishing's sequel to Julie Hedlund's first book app, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys. This title focuses on the creatures of the sea, featuring Pamela Baron's gorgeous illustrations with light but polished animation and well-crafted interactive elements. Each page has a different animal grouping shown with the proper plural term for a group of each marine species.

From a swarm of eels to a herd of seahorses, children will enjoy learning about the unique (and often comical) names for scores of sealife that go way beyond your usual school of fish. Among my favorites was the smack of jellyfish and fever of stingrays, plus the lovely narration is there 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 Mud Monster by Tizio BV

Edie (a turtle), Pip (a goose) and Kay (a rabbit) are adorable animals who will charm children and adults alike in this new digital picture book by talented artist and author Chantal Bourgonje. There is a timeless quality to this tale, even though it is an original story written for the iPad. Lovers of traditional picture books will dive right into The Mud Monster's well-crafted verse for a familiar style of storytelling despite the modern medium.

The original illustrations are drenched in color (similar to Bourgonje's earlier app, Fierce Grey Mouse) in two separate versions of this book. Both versions are the same storyline but different artistic renderings of this circular Read more …

Scott's Submarine by Charly Playe

Scott's Submarine is a cute digital book about an underwater adventure. The book has a unique graphic style and storyline that can be read at two age levels (2-3 & 4+) which could also translate nicely to reading levels for early readers and those who are more advanced. The book also has settings for multiple languages, including English, Spanish, French & Japanese. This makes it a terrific choice for foreign language learning & practice.

As a digital book, this title really stands out most for its stunning computer graphics. There is a lot to see and to do in this book, too, and while it is not really animated, there are several fun scenes that 'vibrate' to give the Read more …

Mosasaurus: Mighty Ruler of the Sea - Smithsonian’s Prehistoric Pals by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Mosasaurus: Mighty Ruler of the Sea is a nicely illustrated title in Oceanhouse Media's Smithsonian Collection - a series based on popular non-fiction print titles about the natural world. The print version of this title was released in 2008 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 Read more …

Brush of Truth by Story Bayou, Inc.

Note: This App is formatted for the smaller screen.

Brush of Truth, developed by Story Bayou, Inc., is an extremely clever, interactive book app [for iOS, Google-Play & Kindle - See "Other Versions" tab above]. It can be customized for the needs of the reader by the reader. In Brush of Truth, two tweens discover an enchanted paintbrush created by a medieval sorcerer. The paintbrush is magical – whatever you paint with it comes to life! There are many adventures included in Brush of Truth. Some of these adventures include helping a sea goddess find the key to the oceans dying sea life, exploring dark tunnels under the earth, and fleeing talking vultures.

What makes Brush of Read more …

Lobster Tale - Children's Book and Game by John Luchin

Lobster Tale is a whale . . . er, lobster . . . of an original tale that’s great for kiddos ages 6 and up. I can’t tell you too much detail without giving too much away, but this story follows Dominico, a lobster fisherman who has found himself on some hard times. What happens when he takes over a run-down lobster restaurant?  

This book app is chock full of all the dry humor and quick wit a person could ask for, which is absolutely right up my alley. It's also a little more edgy, with a few surprising twists that keep it from being your average predictable tale.The length of the story, along with the higher vocabulary, make this a great app for elementary-aged Read more …

Boy and the Seagull by Oleksandr Ronzhyn

Boy and the Seagull is a charming story of a boy and his friend the Seagull. This app is great for children under 5 and easy for little hands to use. The story begins in a beautiful coastal town where a Seagull and his seagull friends live.

One day, the Seagull saw a small boy looking at him through a window and so it flew down to the boy. Their friendship grew stronger from that day onwards. One morning, the Seagull visited the boy and told him he was leaving for Seagull Island. Because the boy could not fly with him, the Seagull told the boy to use his mind in order to imagine the journey to the island. Through a series of fascinating encounters the small boy meets underwater friends Read more …

Deep-Sea Submarine HD by Top That! Publishing

"You're the captain of a submarine!" ... your mission is to explore the seas. This app is very fun for kids, shown through a window that looks like a submarine looking out into the deep. Readers can play with the controls, turning the steering wheel and maneuvering the submarine through treacherous waters. Beautifully enhanced and full of engaging interactivity, this is one app that toddlers, preschoolers and anyone in the under six set will truly love.

Every other scene has text explaining the mission of the submarine driver ... on the scenes in between this text, the reader is challenged to move their submarine across the page using the control panel. This lovely framing of every page Read more …

The Lettermen go to the Seaside by SN Squared Limited

This fun digital storybook under the category "Education" is interactive in a way that not only makes reading fun, but reinforces spelling, reading and sight words. The 'lettermen' themselves are simple but engaging cartoon letters with hands and feet. They are very appealing to kids and have great expressions that match the words they are forming on each page. This tale has the 'lettermen' going on vacation or 'holiday' as they say in Europe. The narration is a British English speaker and is crisp and clear.

The Lettermen was a series of books created in the late 1980's by Roger Knights. This book was published in print in 1993. According to the information page in the book, "It was never Read more …

McElligot’s Pool - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

This title, from Oceanhouse Media, was published by Dr. Seuss's in print in 1947. It follows the imaginative story of a boy named Marco who is fishing in a rather sad, small pond, called "McElligot's Pool". Marco is convinced that he might actually catch something, picturing a vast underground river that flows below the town. This river leads to a deeper pool full of fanciful and exotic fish that only Dr. Seuss could envision, like a Dog fish or circus fish or one that skis down underwater slopes. Geisel was always a lover of make-believe, and this title shows off his whimsical storytelling with a subtle message reminding adults to be careful not to crush a child's imagination.

McElligot's Read more …

Mini Fish Tale by Choudhury Sarada Nanda

A Mini Fish Tale is a story about a little girl who receives two beautiful fish for her 10th birthday. One of the fish becomes ill and dies, however, making the other fish (and the girl) very sad. In this beautifully illustrated and lyrical tale, the little girl finds a way to make her fish happy again.

Young readers will enjoy this short but satisfying tale about having a pet and knowing when to set it free. The gorgeous illustrations and subtle pacing of this story make up for its lack of enhancement. There are no aninimated or interactive elements in the storybook, but none are really needed. The expressive and richly colored illustrations do more than enough storytelling without Read more …

Turtle's Day at the Beach - Interactive Storybook for Kids by Christopher Black

The Adventures of Turtle Girl: Turtle's Day at the Beach is an interactive gem of a book app for kids under five. Young readers older than five may also enjoy the chance to read this title to themselves, but it is really an ideal app for toddlers and preschool age children. It features Turtle and her friend Olive the Octopus as they spend a fun 'day at the beach' (although technically they are underwater, so it's more like a day on the ocean floor). There are twelve pages, although only about half have text, with the others containing activities for the reader to complete.

This title shines most for interactivity, in a 5-star way! It features plot-related animation, triggered with a Read more …

Mabell's Zoo - Interactive Counting Book by Brenda Long

Mabel's Zoo is a simple but lovely storybook app that explores familiar animals found in a zoo for the very youngest readers. Simple text, lacking grammatical polish, accompanies each patchwork scene. "Elephant gives rides to the birds", "Monkeys swing from vinces and each other" and "Tangs bring sunshine to the ocean" are typical phrases found in this book app, explaining to young listeners the basics of wildlife. Within the app's 10 pages (no pageguide), children will find the sounds and sights of many zoo animals. This is an app that is fun to explore and share with a young child, especially when teaching about the natural world and animals.

Recommended.

This app has been thoroughly Read more …

Logan and the Upside Down Sea by Iskandar, Inc

This original & imaginative storybook is a crowd pleaser, for both kids & grown-ups.  It is interactive on every page, even the cover.   If you touch the leaves scattered at the bottom of the first page, they bounce up into the air with the sound of ocean waves.

Many pictures throughout the book can be touched to cause the character or object to either bounce up with cute sounds or announce the name of the character with a quick flash of the word as it is being read on the audio track.  The pages can be a bit touchy at times, so while trying to interact with the story, my son often accidentally triggers a page turn. Using the page turn buttons instead helps.

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 …

Coastal Quest by Hamson Design Group Pty Ltd

Ready to explore? Head to the beach in this fun title for readers 4-8. Like Barnyard Mystery, this 2nd app from Hamson Design Group has a structure that allows your child to 'choose their own adventure' with a picture book that is slightly different each time it is read. Told in rhyming verse, the app also inserts the child's name into the story, personalizing this tale about exploring the seaside.

The app is also lightly animated and interactive, with lots of things to tap. Most of the enhancements are not particularly tied to the storyline, but they are certainly fun. While this is a nice title and solidly built overall, it really needs the addition of a page guide and/or home Read more …

The Deep Blue Kingdom by Imaginatronics LLC

This educational app is filled with over a dozen detailed, educational descriptions of sea creatures. In a window on each page, there is a deep sea video showing the animal in its natural ocean environment. The videos play silently with background noise of scuba diving, mostly bubbles and gentle splashing. Videos can be seen in full screen mode with a quick two finger gesture, although the image is less clear in the larger view.

Each page is narrated in a crisp, clear voice. 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 extremely educational though, and my son and I were fascinated by the variety Read more …

Rose Milany at the beach by Jean-Marc FILIPPI

Rose Milany At The Beach is one of a series of interactive books, from the Rose Milany Collection.  In this eBook, a young girl named Rose Milany spends the day at the beach with her little dog.  The reader is invited to interact with Rose Milany and to choose her bathing suit, sunglasses and even build a sandcastle. The games solicit sound and visual memory of the child”. There is an option to ready and play the eBook in English, French or Spanish.

The eBook contains approximately 20 pages; 10 with the ability to interact with the page.  Included are 3 games and a song. The 3 games are

  • Momoread: find objects from the story
  • The Stickers: Fill in the blanks from a Read more …
Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef by Dawn Publications

Over in the Ocean is a beautifully illustrated book app based on the print title published in 2004. Author Marianne Berkes weaves a simple but sweet story about sealife over ten pages, counting one-by-one until by all the fishy babies have been found. This well-crafted tale, told in rhyme, is delightful and can be read aloud, narrated (with highlighting) or even sung to young listeners.

As lovely as the story is, the illustrations are even better! Beautiful colors depict a sea of creatures with light interactivity and animation. The ocean comes alive with Jeanette Canyon's original creations. Music is also lovely as an addition to this multi-media app, however it has been poorly Read more …