A Jazzy Day - Music Education Book for Kids by The Melody Book LLC

Young music lovers (and their parents) are in for a treat with A Jazzy Day: Swinging with the BIG BAND ... an animated, interactive and enriching musical tale about one hip cat 'dad' taking his cool-cat kittens to see the big band play. All of the musicians are animated animal characters, beautifully illustrated and instructive as they demonstrate each of their instruments. Learn about the different sections of the band, from rhythm to horns and even the role of the conductor.

This tale is simple but well-crafted, describing the sounds and images that make up complex jazz melodies. When they meet the raccoon playing the bass, it says, "Close your eyes, do you hear the bass walking?" The Read more …

Hildegard Sings by One Hundred Robots

Hildegard Sings is an exceptional adaptation of a print title, enhancing an otherwise well-written and engaging children's book in ways that add to the story without losing a thing in the digital translation. The interactive enhancements are thoughtful and tied nicely to the storyline, adding to both the reader's enjoyment and reading comprehension. Even the audio is pitch perfect, offering high quality music, narration and sound effects.

Thomas Wharton published Hildegard Sings in 1991. This out of print title comes to life on the iPad, with interactive animations on every page. You can feed Hildegard, move the curtain up & down, help deliver the surprise to the stage and even open the Read more …

I Love You Too - Ziggy Marley by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Based on a print title, also published this year, I Love You Too, is a digital book by Ziggy Marley. It is based on Marley's 2009 song by the same name, featuring the power of love between a parent and child. According to Ziggy:

"One day I was in my kitchen making breakfast with my then three-year-old daughter Judah. She looked at me and said, 'I love you.' I spontaneously replied to her, 'I love you too.' From that came the song and now the book based on the lyrics. I hope you share and enjoy this with your loved ones as I have with mine."

This powerful and well-loved song makes a beautiful story, accompanied by color-drenched illustrations from Ag Jatkowska. The digital platform is Read more …

A Fine Musician by The Trustee for the Tokeru Trust

"On a very fine day, ratta tat ratta tat. With his drum and his hat, ratta tat ratta tat. He came into town and he walked down the street as he drummed out a beat ratta tat ratta tat," begins this enchanting musical storybook for the iPad. It captures the romance of a walled European city in its sepia pages with tidy narrow streets, people milling about, bicyclists and street vendors. Yet the whole book feels modern in its own way. If you tap the menu bar below any page, you can even see the whole book laid out, page against page.  Look closely and you will see that it connects into a complete picture of the musician's walk through this lively little village.

This is not just a book Read more …

Jazzy World Tour - Musical Journey for Kids by The Melody Book LLC

Jazzy World Tour - Musical Journey for Kids, from My Melody Book is much more than a reading app, although it includes plenty to explore in text, describing each of the locations on the map. These include the United States (New York), Ireland, Brazil, Spain, Egypt, Kenya, India, Japan and Australia. Children can record their travels in a digital travel book, collecting photos of their journey. The navigation is intuitive in this solidly made app for children ages 3 to 8.

Each location has the choice of Learn, Create and Play. Tap "Learn" and you can tap items like musical instruments, traditional foods and other items from each culture featured to find out more about them. Tap "Play" to Read more …

Song for Miles iPad by Diverse Mobile, LLC

A Song for Miles, by Tiffany Simpkins Russell, PhD with illustrations by Raheli Scarborough is a born-digital title (published initially as an eBook and book app with no paper version) in August of 2011. It is available as a digital book without enhancements (as a Kindle eBook) in addition to this app version. At the time it was promoted as the "First Black Digital Storybook Available in the AppStore," by TheRoot.com. It is also a wonderful title for children from all backgrounds, for musical exploration and an understanding of the role of art history in our cultural experience. The app is not animated and only very lightly interactive, with a few sound 'sprites', but links Read more …

Wheels on the Bus HD by Duck Duck Moose

This is an adorable little app under the category 'education' although it reads right through like a musical storybook. It also features a favorite song of many young children and their parents, "the wheels on the bus (go round and round)". It is an ideal title for children under 5, even as young as one or two.

The developer, Duck Duck Moose, is known for making quality children's apps. They have several wonderfully colorful, musical and educational titles in the app store and this one is no exception. It is well made and easy enough for a small child to use themselves. The interactivity is just right for young hands to master, while the animation & sound effects are both amusing and Read more …

Juno's Musical ABCs HD by The Juno Company

Juno's Musical ABC's is one of the nicest ABC book apps in the App Store. Not only does it present the alphabet in a fun and engaging way but it simultaneously teaches about dozens of different musical instruments, sounds and musical concepts. It also features high-quality sounds to go along with every instrument introduced and delightful graphics of adorable felt characters. The narration is also lovely, and that familiar voice turns out to be none other than Brooke Shields.

Each page features a letter as well as simple interactivity that allows the child to touch the images on the page to see and hear the word (like applause, bassoon, clarinet, etc.) that is emphasized in that page's Read more …

Prancing Dancing Lily by Fat Red Couch, Inc.

Prancing, Dancing Lily is a universal book app and is based on a print book of the same name, written by Marsha Diane Arnold and illustrated by John Manders. Marsha is the award-winning author of eleven children’s picture books. Prancing, Dancing Lily is inspired by Marsha’s own childhood as she grew up on a farm with Ayrshire cows like Lily. The app also includes a puzzle section, and a scene selector that allows you to easily re-visit favorite pages. It contains no adverts or in-app purchases.

The story starts with an orderly herd of cows marching in for milking time, all except for Lily that is. Lily instead dances and prances about the pasture – Read more …

Wubbzy's Dance Party by CUPCAKE DIGITAL INC

The Wow Wow Wubbzy’s song is very pretty popular around our household!  It is very catchy what can I say?!  The new Wow! Wow! Wuzzby app by Cupcake Digital is pretty catchy and quite fun as well!  The first page opens up and we can chose between three different color stars – a purple, blue and pink one.  Of course we started out with the purple star and the story starts off.  It was a busy day in Wuzzleburg.  Wubbzy and his friends were getting the Wubb Club ready for the annual dance party.  You can have it read to you or you can read it yourself.  Flying across the first page are two little blue birds that squawk when you Read more …

Gorilla Band 3D story book with music - Wasabi Productions by Wasabi Productions Pty Ltd

From Graham Nunn, creator of the Larry Lizard series of apps, another interactive tale with a musical theme swings into young readers hearts. Each player in this 'jungle music school' has a different instrument and despite initial reluctance to practice with their teacher, they develop a sense of both rhythm and teamwork. In the end, they form a cohesive group and play an original tune called "Gorilla Band".

The enhancements in this title are both fun and well-paced for young readers ages 2-6. Nice highlighting is timed with the narration, word-for-word, including sing-along music video extras. Readers can get more into the story by tapping the characters for additional dialog. Read more …

Barnyard Dance - Boynton by Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

Barnyard Dance is the latest Sandra Boynton board book brought to life by app developer Loud Crow Interactive of Vancouver, Canada. The book was originally written 20 years ago, and is the fourth Sandra Boynton Board Book produced by Loud Crow.  When you open the book it is just like you are flipping the pages of a board book, but with some surprises thrown in.

Before you even open the book you see it sitting on a table and you can play the instruments sitting beside it. You can opt to read it yourself or have it read by Bluegrass musician John Stey of Stookil Express.  Traditional hoedown music plays in the background and John calls out the moves as if Read more …

Little Fox Music Box – Kids songs – Sing along - Christmas Version by Fox and Sheep GmbH

Little Fox Music Box – Kids Songs – Sing along, by the incredibly talented author Heidi Wittlinger, an Oscar nominated artist, and the developer, goodbeans, has just been updated. This songbook app now fully supports the Retina display of the New iPad and “WOW-O-WOW” is all we can say! Never do the interactions deter from the music, they are divinely subtle and compliment every note sung!

This app is a sing-along songbook featuring more than 100 interactive elements and incorporating 3 songs, which guarantee to bring smiles to the faces of young and old alike! It is brought to you by the team that created the bestselling app “Nighty Night.” 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 …

Three Blind Mice HD by PicPocket Books

This ebook app is based on Wooleycat's Musical Theater, a book with audio cd that was previously published in print. The book contained 10 stories with songs, and this tale of "Three Blind Mice on Vacation in Africa" is one of the story-songs from the original 2003 edition.

The song and story are whimsical, telling a variation on the fable of 3 blind men and an elephant. Each blind man (or mouse in this case) touches a different part of the animal, and all mistake it for something else. The story is often used as a analogy for the importance of communication and why we need to see the 'whole picture' to really understand something.

As a musical tale, this storybook is very catchy. The Read more …

Twinkle Twinkle by Super Simple Learning, Inc.

Twinkle Twinkle is an adorable book app with music video of the classic song included. The computer animation in this title is superb, accompanied by a simple but sweet story about an owl making friends with a star in the night sky. The title is also interactive, letting the reader trigger most of the animated scenes.

Extras include a page with 20 stars to tap and hear the count aloud (although no numbers appear, the stars do animate and 'spin' as they are tapped). There is also a 2+ minute animated music video of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star that is very relaxing with delightful piano music. The book itself is presented with short animated clips that play briefly before each page's text Read more …

Humpty Dumpty HD by PicPocket Books

This ebook app is based on Wooleycat's Musical Theater, a book with audio cd that was previously published in print. The book contained 10 stories with songs, and this tale of "Humpty Dumpty" is one of the story-songs from the original 2003 edition.

The tale is whimsical, telling a variation of the Mother Goose classic that portrays Humpty as a little egg boy who falls off his skate board. Like the traditional story, no one can put him back together again, but in this version the ending has a great new twist. His mom comes to the rescue and makes Humpty all better with a magical mama-kiss. It ends with the line, "Love and care can pull you back when you fall apart."

As a musical Read more …

Elly Book 7 by Dipali Vaidya

Elly the Reindeer is a cute cartoon-style reindeer. She has adventures with her animal friends in a sweet rural setting where all the child-like characters live in their own homes and look to each other for help, fun and solving the occasional dilemma. In this story Elly and her friends find musical instruments and try to form a band. They are not very good, though, until the wise Owl helps out by being their conductor.

This cute series of books has become a fast favorite of my preschooler at bedtime. There is no narration, but it is planned for a future update. They are short & sweet, perfect for bedtime. With features like simple swipe-style page turning and an easy to read Read more …

A Duck in New York City by Les Productions Folle Avoine

This is a animated version of the print title, published in 2007. It is based on the title hit from an audio cd of children's songs by Connie Kaldor"one of Canada’s most significant contemporary folk performers," according to Billboard Magazine. The story is a lot of fun, featuring a little duck with a big dream - to dance on Broadway.

As a digital offering, this title has a slightly different format than the typical book app, with settings to both watch a video of the story without text or have it narrated. There is also a setting to read silently. In the 'book' mode, narration is wonderful, although the 'highlighting' is actually just a line that is drawn under the Read more …

A tale off the top of my head by SARL La souris qui raconte

This tale, told in the original French and a well-crafted English translation, tells the story of an old man looking back on his life. It is touching and melancholy, with complex themes about love and loss that reads more like a long poem than a book. The man's dog is actually a she-wolf, Nimis, who stays by his side through a hundred years of reclusive existence. Beautiful illustrations nicely augment the story, with ingenious animated and interactive elements that surprise and delight.

The story is nicely constructed in free verse, although many of the themes and much of the language used will be difficult for readers under age 12 (or even older - when I ran a page through the 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 …

12 Days of Christmas - Polk Street Press Singalong by Polk Street Press LLC

This is a beautifully illustrated musical app with both a sing-along and play-along mode. In play-along mode, the reader needs to tap the numbers as the song counts down, with the numbers shuffling with every scene. Not only is this a fun mode to watch, it also reinforces counting quite nicely. The number that needs to be tapped next does highlight slightly if the child doesn't tap anything right away. A small pause/play button serves as a home button when tapped. In sing-along mode the app really shines, offering both an audio and video recording option. You can even record your own music if you want. Words for the traditional song scroll along the bottom of the page while instrumental 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 …

Monster Jam by Michelle Anaya

Created by Blue Sandpiper Imprints, this monster-themed and musical book app has engaging illustrations from Victor Guiza (illustrator of Treasure Kai series). The interactivity & light animation are fun, but the story itself is the highlight, featuring a tween-friendly plot about a garage band with monster youth as characters. From lead singer Axe, his monster friends Banger and JD, to lead singer Skyler (who loses her voice in this episode) and Stones (a monster who has zit-like geodes adorning his body), this is one talented gang. In-app games include a simple tic-tac-toe game and also the ability to play the band's instruments, including a piano, guitar and drum set. While the Read more …

Georgie and the Birthday Girl by BammBosh Ltd

Georgie and the Birthday Girl is an adorable, interactive digital storybook by Colin Treanor with developer bammbosh. Featuring a magic dog kennel and a puppy named Georgie, this book will enchant young listeners and pre-K readers with its cute cartoon characters. The story has unique interactivity that lets the child drive the narrative, alongside light animation. It is also narrated with highlighting of a delightfully crisp British accent (including British spelling in the text).

The storyline is simple but well tailored for this young audience. Georgie's friends plan a special treat for Pebbles, a cute panda. With a little ingenuity, they make their plans a success despite meddling by an Read more …

Make A Song by Gorilla Band 2 - 3D story book with Music by Wasabi Productions Pty Ltd

Are you looking for an app with stunning 3D graphics and the ability to wow young readers? Well, look no further. The gorillas are back and they're making more music with the inspiration of their natural environment. From lightning to rain and even the fluttering of insects, these young musicians find sounds they can mimic and enhance with their own instruments. This tale begins with Pricilla Gorilla, who is upset when her portable music player has dead batteries. How can she listen to music now? The music teacher has an idea, "Music's always around you, wherever you go. It's the wind in the trees and the flutter and flap. It's the sound of the jungle - there's music in Read more …

Just a Little Music - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
Just A Little Music by Mercer Mayer is one of the new adventures in the Little Critter series, published in print in 2009. In this title, Little Critter wants to learn to play the drums after seeing a marching band in a parade. The digital version of this book also adds a new twist, keeping track as the young reader tries to find all 19 of the little mice and spiders hidden on nearly every page.
 
Many readers have asked, "What kind of animal is Little Critter?" According to Wikipedia, Mercer Mayer did not specify which type of animal the Little Critter is, but, "he resembles a hedgehog, hamster or guinea pig." So, basically he's a rodent ... although a rather lovable one! Over 200 Read more …
Wenda the Wacky Wiggler- Interactive Storybook by Aslan Studios Inc

Wenda the Wacky Wiggler, by Aslan Studios, is a storybook app celebrating individuality and the pursuit of sharing happiness. Narrated by writer/producer Christopher Aslan and illustrated by Emily Mullock this winning team has put together a darling story stressing the values and importance of being oneself and not letting the negativity of others interfere with who you are.

The story begins with Wenda and what she does best – dance, laugh and wiggle with joy. It appears that she is in perpetual motion. This exceptional girl, who is always upbeat and not accepted in Gloomy Town, never loses site of who she is. When the gloomy people in the town stop Read more …

MOVING BOOKS! Jajajajan (English) by FORii, Inc.

My kids are enthralled by any app that sings to them. Moving Books! Jajajajan is an extensive app, filled with fairytales and songs that are narrated and sung to children. Classic stories to cultural folktales, this app has a large selection of songs and stories.

Moving Books! Jajajajan (free) by FORii, lnc. is a collection of narrated stories and songs meant for children ages 3 to 8. At the time of this review, there were nine stories and 13 songs.  Upon opening the app, users click on the songs tab or the books tab to view the selections. Stories are stored in the cloud and are downloaded to the app with the touch of an icon. No password required. The Read more …

MyBackpack - Waterford Learning by Waterford Research Institute, LLC

My Backpack is the first app from the educational non-profit the Waterford Research Institute. The app is designed for children from preschool through 3rd grade and has 4 different sections. It is designed as a classroom supplement to be used alongside Waterford Early Learning, a research-based adaptive software curriculum. It is currently free with no in-app purchases adverts or external links.

The 4 sections are : Read-a-Long, Mental Math, Sing-a-Long, and Nursery Rhymes.

Read-a-Long

There are 16 books included in the app, designed for Pre-k through 2nd grade. These are classic stories which have been rewritten for the Waterford Institute. They can be Read more …

The Pied Piper by Stacking Books by The Candlestick Company, LLC

The Pied Piper by Stacking Books in conjunction with The Candlestick Company, rewrite the timeless classic, to introduce older preschoolers and early elementary students to the art of verse and the origination of idioms. Did you know that the story may have been based on fact? I am not pulling your leg here; it seems that something did go down in Hamelin. As early as in the year of 1284, the story began to appear and soon took on the characteristics of a legend. We may never know for sure what exactly happened; but a church window, a house (built in 1604 and dedicated to “The Piper”), and centuries of retelling this story all point to the importance of a Read more …

The Amazing Pop Corn by Ever After Tales, LLC

Pop Cornelius stars in this adorable book app from Ever After Tales, based on the story by Eugene Trivizas. Cornelius, a pop-corn "kid", wants to grow up to be a pop star, so he forms a band with his pop-corn friends. Featuring an original and very catchy song, "Pippy Pippy Pop", this story app will have young readers and listeners bopping along to the charming story. Overcoming obstacles, working hard and sticking with his dream brings many rewards for this young "pop" star.

Lovely narration is available, in a North American accent, although the storyline and spelling have a distinctive British theme (like when Pop Cornelius is invited to tea with the Queen at Popingham Palace). Fun Read more …

Little Chickies (Los Pollitos) by Canticos - Sing, Play & Learn with Latino Nursery Rhymes by Encantos Media Studios, Llc

Little Chickies (Los Pollitos) – Sing, Play & Learn with Latino Nursery Rhymes by Encantos Media Studios, Incis the quintessential necessity for all modern day preschoolers of any sociological background. In a time when cultures are being homogenized and nursery tales are losing popularity, along comes Canticos to change all that and remind us just how important it is to keep this heritage going. These nursery rhymes are delivered in 8 different languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Hindi, Mandarin and Japanese. The adorable illustrations are a pure delight to both children and parents alike. The gameplay is open-ended, uber creative and Read more …