Up & Down by Mr. Garamond S.L.

This beautifully illustrated app by Mr. Garamond shows a split screen with images from 'a day in the life' of two children, one in a western setting and the other in an eastern, desert environment. Profits from downloading this application go to Bubisher, a travelling Bus of Books for the children living in Western Saharan refugee camps. The app is available in Spanish, English, French & Arabic, but unlike most multilingual apps, this one lets you select the language for the narration and text separately, meaning you can listen in English with text in Arabic, for instance. This feature makes for a very unique and educational storybook.

The book can be read with or without a game that 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 …

Who Stole The Moon? - Interactive e-book for children by Windy Press International Publishing House, LLC

Bertie is a little boy who loves staring at the moon and stars through a large window in the ceiling of his bedroom ... until one day the moon goes missing. In this enchanting and beautifully illustrated storybook app, readers will find out how Bertie solves this mystery, with the help of some nocturnal friends. Based on a 2010 print title, this app features over a dozen options for translation, perfect for foreign language learners. Who Stole the Moon? is also a 'must-download' title for lovers of bedtime book apps in particular.

Ingenious interactive elements include story-related gems as well as lots of unique features, like pages that scroll up and down, alongside more linear arrow page Read more …

Mr Glue Stories by Chadlington ABC Enterprises Ltd

Mr. Glue Stories presents a visual feast in app-form and is an especially unique and polished digital reading experience for kids 4 and up. It features a choose-your-own adventure style storybook, with choices for the young reader throughout each of four separate stories, all included in-app. This title is also illustrated lavishly in an edgy cartoon-style and is full of great options like recordable narration and coloring pages. You can even add personalized touches like the child's name and gender.

Mr. Glue Stories has a talented team with author Amelia Thorne and illustrator Jose Fragoso. Their kid-pleasing storybooks are worthy of an earlier era in publishing. All four would make 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 …

Crêpes by Suzette by Monica WELLINGTON

Crepes by Suzette is a simple story of a day in the life of a crepe vendor (aptly named Suzette) who wanders through Paris. After purchasing ingredients in a market, Suzette pushes her cart through some Paris’ most quintessential settings: Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Luxembourg Gardens, Notre-Dame Cathedral, to name a few. The book is a travelogue, a celebration of Paris, and an innovative multimedia experience.

Created by author and illustrator, Monica Wellington, Crepes by Suzette juxtaposes photos of Parisian scenes with mementos such as coins, stamps and maps. Monica’s own vibrant illustrations are layered onto the foreground.  The collage-like effect lends lends depth Read more …

Boquitas: The Hunt for the Chupacabras by Lima Sky

This is a well-crafted storybook app about a family living with a pet chicken named Diva. After criticizing her sister's pet, Candela discovers that Cari's beloved chicken is missing! Could the legendary Chupacabra have gotten to her first? Even Abuela believes in the monster, so when the two sister and their brother Beto venture into the woods to save Diva, many surprises are in store.

This title features great animation, interactivity and music ... but it is not narrated. Available in both English and Spanish within the same app, it is still a great read to share with children or have them read by themselves. With lots of suspense, cartoon-like animations and an engaging storyline, this 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 …

KidsMag Halloween Special Edition by Portegno SA

This app contains a short but cute storybook about two kids (Teo & Bianca) who explore their basement to find costume materials – with scary and funny results. Beyond the story, you’ll find an exceptional assortment of extras. It has puzzles, spot-the-dot, coloring pages, sequencing/matching activities and much more than I can even list. 5-Star extras in this & every edition of “KidsMag”!

This title is one of over a dozen titles briefly reviewed for a special post, "Enhanced Spookiness! Top 10 iPad Book Apps for Halloween"

KidsMg Easter Special Edition by Portegno SA

KidsMag from Portegno Apps is a fantastic series of digital 'activity books', including a short but cute storybook in each issue. This issue has the children listening to a bedtime story about Easter. It features a land of bunny 'egg painters' ... a group of helpers not unlike Santa's elves. The main character is just learning his trade and gets lots of inspiration from his siblings before finding his own style.

As a digital offering, this title is solidly made with ample settings to navigate and adjust the app's 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 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 …

Pedro & Marg by Heritage Language, LLC.

When I was in High School, my French teacher would reward us with comic books and story books written in French. They were always so exotic and fun to explore. Little did we know that tackling these stories taught us much more about the language and culture than our text books.

The stories contained in Pedro & Marg, by Heritage Language, are like taking a trip to a Latin American country. The app, based on the books by the same name, are rich in details describing the culture and customs of family life, and are a phenomenal resource for learning Spanish or English. It is truly impressive how well these story books are laid out, and how thoughtful the developers are in terms of Read more …

Three Little Pigs - S28 by Stella 28 Limited

Fairy tales are not difficult to find in app form. Of all the tales retold in digital (and print), the Three Little Pigs is one of the most popular. But all fairy tales are not created equal. This title is unique, not because the story is especially original, but because of the educational enhancements. Readers of fairy tales will be disappointed if they are looking for a quirky or interesting take on this famous story, but for teachers and parents, this is an app that is set up perfectly to engage reluctant readers.

The story is simple, following the plot of the three pigs and their homes made of straw, sticks and brick. I asked my son (age 6) after the first read through to tell me about 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 …

Books for Kids: Daniel and his toys by FUDEA-IIE-UFRO

Daniel and his toys is an extremely short title at only 4 pages, but it is very interactive with lots of educational features. Readers can tap on the boy to get him to put away his toys, put apples in his dump lorry (truck) and ride his tricycle (nice modeling of wearing a helmet too). The stories in this series of "Books for Kids" are all bi-lingual, too, making them great learning tools for Spanish-English language activities.

The app is solidly made with both swipe and arrow page turning, highlighting with narration and tap-to-hear for any word in the text. The reading comprehension activities that follow the story are really the best part of this app, though. Questions that check Read more …

Flight of the Pamplemousse by Whynoceros LLC

Flight of the Pamplemousse is an original iPad tale told in rhyming verse about a boy who dreams about a mythical creature called the "Pamplemousse". He overhears a story half in French that includes a reference to grapefruit or 'pamplemousse' while he is falling asleep, causing him to imagine a fanatastic adventure with a giant Moose-like creature with wings.

This night-time dreaming adventure features beautiful, although almost hypnotic, narration in a crisp British accent. The story may be over many of the youngest readers heads, although my Kindergartner understood it best when I read it to him aloud with different pacing and emphasis, asking questions along the way. The app also Read more …

Wake Up Mo! ~ 3D Interactive Pop-Up Book by StoryToys Entertainment Limited

Wake Up Mo!, from StoryToys, is the perfect way to have your children get off to a good start in the morning. This app supports four different languages including English, French, German and Spanish. Wake Up Mo! offers the option to have music on or off, as well as read to me, and the more advanced feature of read myself. There is also a parent area for further options.

I absolutely love the narrator, with his deep rich voice. There are many places to touch on the page for surprise animations. Wake Up Mo! has the unique look of a cardboard toddler book, but in 3-D.

Help Mo get dressed after breakfast and you will be laughing at the snoring sound of the mouse.  The clock in the Read more …

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