Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System by MINILAB LTD

Blast off with Professor Astro Cat in this delightful new learning app from Mini Lab Studios in partnership with their sister company, Flying Eye Books, an award-winning children’s book publisher. Professor Astro Cat's Solar System features fun facts about all the planets in our solar system. Presented in a book-game hybrid app, this content is not only educational but also deeply engaging. Kids earn medals as the learn, including answering True/False questions in a rocket game that is so fun they barely realize they are being tested. My 9 year old was enthralled and especially enjoyed the chance to build his rocket as he progressed through the levels.

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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 Land of Me - Story Time by Made in Me Ltd.

This book app is one of the finest examples of digital storytelling to come across my tablet in a long time. It is beautifully made, created by The Land of Me. Upon opening it, readers are greeted by a scene with a serious but loving storyteller in the form of Granny Olive and three juveniles: a bear named Buddy Boo, a raccoon named Eric and a bird named Willow. This wise old tortoise will have your child as enthralled as her three charges, the minute you open this app. It is lovingly detailed, solidly built and thoughtfully tailored to its target audience of ages 2-6+.

While the stories in this app are very short (barely 2 minutes long), there is enormous replay value, since there are Read more …

Treasure Kai and the Seven Cities of Gold by Treasure Bound Books Pty Ltd

In this sequel to Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island, readers are in for a treat! Full of exceptional interactivity that is both story-related and fun, this title surpasses the first book in a way that is rare for a series. The first title was based on a print book with a similar approach to non-linear storytelling, using a series of treasure chests at the bottom of the book (with small toys representing each new page). In print, this title has been a family favorite in our home to this day. But, in digital, this title really took the storytelling up a notch, with a design that feels tailored to the medium of the touch tablet without losing any of the ingenuity of the original 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 …

The Trip Little Critter Reading Adventure by Baker & Taylor, Inc.

Based on Mercer Mayer's original illustrations of the "Critter" family on a road trip, The Trip: Little Critter Reading Adventure, is truly just that - a reading adventureWhile adults delight in the familiar characters and storyline, a whole new generation of Little Critter fans is virtually guaranteed with engaging apps like this one, created by Silver Dolphin Books.

Mayer originally wrote "The Trip" as an ABC style book in 1988 before its more familiar edition in 1997 that edited it down significantly. This app is based on the later edition, with wonderful enhancements that take young readers ages 2-6 on more than just a figurative adventure, by Read more …

Lola and Lucy's Big Adventure - A Fingerprint Network App by Fingerprint Digital, Inc

Lola and Lucy’s Big Adventure: Storybook with Games, by Pinkerton Road, is an adorable doggy tale app that kids can’t seem to get enough of! Lola and Lucy leave the comforts of the Baxter home only to return realizing that they have always had an important job there. With options for both picture book or chapter book, they’ve got the reading levels covered so that it’s great fun for the whole family.

These two puckish English bulldogs embark on an exciting adventure across the USA looking to find their purpose in life. Lucy is the smart one and Lola – ah well, she is just crazy! We witnessed first hand how much fun this app is, as the kids return to Read more …

ToonSpaghetti Story Lab by TechSpaghetti UG (haftungsbeschraenkt)

ToonSpaghetti Story Lab opens up little users are asked to choose between a male and female character and then launches straight into the first story. During the first play through, a little robot friend helps guide your little one through the process of adding in music and sound effects that reflect and reinforce the mood of the story. As we progress to later parts of the story, your child will have to identify the moods when prompted.

Your child will get to choose between three snips of music for each leg of the story, and what they choose can really give the story a different feel. They will also be able to insert up to four different sound effects within each leg of the story, placing Read more …

Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island - Interactive Book App for Kids by Treasure Bound Books Pty Ltd

Kai is a 10 year old boy with a wild imagination and a love of history and treasure. He lives above his parents' treasure shop and the illustrations of this store were so detailed that I could almost imagine being able to play a 'hidden object' game within the page. Tapping on any one of dozens of items elicits high quality sound effects at every turn in the shop's shelves. And we haven't even gotten to the heart of this book - the treasure hunt itself.

This digital book has wonderful interactive sounds and lots of things to touch on every page. One of my son's favorites was the lamp that Kai gets as a birthday gift. It has a shade that looks like a globe and tapping on it turns Read more …

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 …

Violet and the Mystery Next Door - Interactive ... by Black Dog Books, LLC

Violet and the Mystery Next Door is the most recent book in the "Violet" series of ebooks. These books are a unique series with interactivity that is integrated nicely into the storyline. The series stars a little girl who wants to be a detective, searching for clues and solving mysteries. In this winter-themed book she meets a partner in crime-solving, a neighbor boy named Maxwell who goes by "Maxman".

This series of titles is well made, engaging the reader in the story's plot. The interactive clues are set up in a very thoughtful way that draws the child into the story itself. In this book the reader even gets to make decisions at several points along the way, giving the book a Read more …

OnceAppon - A good night story maker for kids by OnceAppon

OnceAppon, released in May 2014, is a beautifully-illustrated app that invites users to assemble a “hero” with an avatar maker, and see that hero imported into a readable story customized with their own choices. It’s the most exciting ebook and creation app for young children (preK-1st) that I’ve seen in a long time. As of now, OnceAppon is free for iPad, with no Android version. It lends itself to hours and hours of individual use, and could be an absolutely magical addition to a digital storytime.

The details:

OnceAppon’s avatar maker is wonderful, offering lots–but not an overwhelming amount–of options for customizing your hero’s hair, Read more …

Millie's Crazy Dinosaur Adventure - Millie Was Here, Book 3 by MegaPops LLC

Millie’s Crazy Dinosaur Adventure – Millie Was Here, Book 3 by Megapops LLC is another wonderful tale from the makers of Millie and the Lost Key. As with all of the Megapops apps featuring Millie the dog, this story is as zany as ever. It has all the components needed to draw kids in and keep them totally mesmerized. Parents rejoice, this is one sophisticated app that packs a punch every time. The unique photo collage style and gaming feel give this app an edge over others.

Join Millie as she travels back in time to retrieve the forgotten birthday gift for her dear friend Kitty and accidentally ventures back a tad farther than planned. Help the story take twists Read more …

Lulu in the Amazon by ZANZIBOOK

Lulu is a little French girl who goes on many adventures around the world with her cat, Zazou. This story is about their third trip in the series ... to the Amazon. These titles are lightly animated and full of interactivity elements that draw the reader into the story. 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. A small green bird can also be found in every scene. This series is also packed with games. Help Lulu fish, make a feather headdress or even write a souvenir postcard to a friend (Note: This feature uses your email account).

This app is well made with lots of features, Read more …

Lulu in Polynesia by ZANZIBOOK

Lulu is a little French girl who goes on many adventures around the world with her cat, Zazou. This story is about their second trip in the series ... to French Polynesia. The pair arrive by air, this time parachuting onto the islands. This title is lightly animated and full of interactivity that makes the reader a part of the story. 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. A small pink bird can also be found in every scene. Watch Lulu dance, help her prepare a Tahitian salad and even write a souvenir postcard to a friend (Note: This feature uses your email account).

This app is Read more …

Barnyard Mystery by Hamson Design Group Pty Ltd

Are you looking for a digital picture book that allows your child to 'choose their own adventure' with a story that is different every time you read? Or maybe one that includes your child's name, too? Well, look no further than this delightful new app that tells the story of a family visiting a farm. The family (which includes your child if you enter their name on the title page) is asked to help Farmer Bill find a cute baby chick that has gotten lost. The search takes them all over the farm, with each change in location prompting a decision by the reader.

I'm not sure how many different story combinations there are for this title, but it was a slightly different story every time I read it Read more …

Chipper's Rainy Day by

With polished animation, delightful interactivity and a short but sweet adventure story, Chipper's Rainy Day, has everything a young reader could wish for in a storybook app. Every one of the pages has animated and interactive elements featuring an adorable mouse-character named Chipper.

It is a rainy day and Chipper is excited ... but readers need to help him decide what to do next. As the story progresses, four opportunities are presented that let the reader 'choose their own adventure' by picking one of three options. This gives children a wonderful way to engage with the story. It also gives this app exceptional re-play value. The choices are whimsical, too ... like building a fort 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 …

DinoBoy Adventures by Three Thumbs Up

This unique book takes the reader on a journey with a little boy dressed up in a dinosaur suit. "Dino Boy", as he is called, finds a mysterious slide that takes him on an imaginative escapade. Each page has interactive elements that react to a light tap, eliciting nice sound effects and slight animations.

When triggered, the interactive elements also allow the reader to move to the next page, including several points in the story where the reader gets to make choices that change the story slightly, like a digital 'choose-your-own-adventure.' The book is illustrated with a whimsical combination of photographs and hand-drawn cut-outs. The pages also scroll briefly over images in-between Read more …

F:sh by Brandwidth Marketing Ltd

This unique new digital book app is an undersea adventure. Three friends explore the ocean, a deep sea cavern and even help a stranded submarine along the way. This book app is also fun because it moves through pages that go forward and then down and back up when the trio explore the sea cave, challenging our notion of a strictly linear storyline.

Plip, Shella & Jelly are the main characters that get together one day to explore the seabed. They discover a hole and explore its darkness until one of the fish has an epiphany triggered by a sneeze. The storyline is fun although their 'adventures' were a bit anti-climatic since all they do is go down into the sea hole and then return home Read more …

Doubting Dasha by Tatyana Mironova

A little girl named Dasha is the heroine of this story app, created by Tatyana Mironova. Dasha is braver than all the people in her village, or at least her actions are brave because she doubts that the scary creatures in the forest really exist. When she volunteers to venture out into the night to find out who is stealing the villager's grain, she is laughed at ... at first.

Over the course of a dozen pages, however, Dasha proves herself to be both brave and smart. Her extraordinary adventures introduce her (and young readers) to wolves, witches, giants and more. In the end Dasha discovers ways to help each of the feared (and misunderstood) creatures, making friends along Read more …

Hagar The Harfowl by Samuel Gimbel

Hagar is a harfowl, a creature that lives in a special Huffaloo tree. This non-linear story app begins with a description of this Seuss-like world, where harfowls try to find footing on trees that are scarce. But Hagar is having trouble finding a spot, and no one will share. Soon a storm takes all the trees down, leaving all but Hagar on the ground. He has choosen a tiny tree, merely a sprout, but he alone has a home.

Soon the other harfowls are eager to leave, unless now Hagar will share. The reader is asked to choose the story's direction at this point, either to "help the other harfowls" or "they got what they deserved" (which could be phrased better as 'don't help the other harfowls'). Read more …

Zoobert's BIGGER Day by Patrick Laneville Enterprises

This book features a cute little monster named Zoobert who lives in a sock drawer. He sounds and acts like a young child, making him very relatable and definitely one of the least scary monsters on the planet. The reader gets to be involved in the story, not by touching the screen, but by shaking the device. This can be difficult when young children read it on the iPad, because of its weight, but any movement that has a firm 'jerking' motion will usually do the trick (the page has an arrow to tap as an alternative if shaking seems like a bad idea) An iPhone version is also available, see the 'other versions' tab on this review for the link and more information.

The child begins by shaking Read more …

Loris and the Runaway Ball by Pointed Stories

This unique little book takes on the topic of safety and gives children choices within the story that give it a "choose-your-own-adventure" quality. It is an educational title with a really appealing way of giving children control over how the story progresses. At the beginning of the story, Loris and her brother are playing catch, but when the ball rolls into the street, Loris needs to 'choose' someone to ask for help, either a neighbor, her brother or her dad. 

All three 'choices' change the story for three pages and then all three return the reader to the same point to finish the story. The three choices are all 'good' solutions to the problem of retrieving the lost ball across the 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 …

An Adventure Of Our Own by Two Way Play, LLC

An Adventure of Our Own is an exceptional co-play app from a new development studio called Two Way Play. Their mission is to create interactive play environments for children to share with each other and the loving adults in their lives. These cooperative play opportunities are invaluable, making this app a great option for engaging your children in creative adventures that help them express feelings, problem-solve and make decisions.

Innovative ways to transform screen time into skill building in children are invaluable. This app for kids 6 an up does this (and more) with a storytelling style that provides lots of story ideas but no clear narrative besides the one users create themselves. Read more …