Slice of Bread goes to the Beach by Grant Adam

This is another phenomenal book app from Jelly Biscuits, makers of Food Fight!. Like their previous book app by Glenn Melenhorst, this title is fun but also cognizant of the adult reading alongside the child. With subtle humor, a tale unfolds about an anthropomorphized slice of bread who drives a toaster-mobile and likes to hunt for treasure by digging in the sand at the beach. He's hoping to find the match to his latest find - a single red sandal, the right one.

The story has great attention to detail, so when Slice of Bread is digging, he pulls up all sorts of things most of us would be excited to find ... like jewels, bags of cash, trophies and even a treasure chest full of gold (I guess Read more …

Auracle HD - Miko "Goes on Vacation" by Auryn, Inc

The Miko books, by talented author Brigitte Weninger, have been among my child's favorites in print for many years, all published in the past decade. I especially love the beautiful illustrations of Stephanie Roehe that pair so nicely with the sweet stories in this series. In this title, Miko and his mom go to the beach. Feeling nervous about being someplace new where he doesn't know anyone, Miko begins to worry that he shouldn't leave Mimiki alone, even to go swimming.

In a lovely plot twist, Miko finds his own solution by reaching out to another child, under a neighboring beach umbrella. He asks the little girl to watch Mimiki for him. Read more …

Penelope HD by Take 2 Ventures LLC

Penelope the Purple Pirate is a wonderful story for kids about a little girl who doesn't want to take a nap, so while stuck in her room, she dresses up and then imagines she is a pirate out at sea. She wears a purple sash and has friends among the sea animals. She rides on the back of the turtle to find an island and search for treasure. When she 'returns' from her adventure she is ready for her nap (tired from all her travels, perhaps?).

This book features simple narration with a tiny bit of animation, like sparkles around the treasure. The sound effects that were added in the update are really nicely spread out, with something 'hidden' on nearly every page. They are things like splashing 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 …

Sid Surfa Saurus Surfing Dinosaur by KIWA International Ltd

Do you know the names of lots of dinosaurs? Well ... "there might be some that you just don't know about yet," according to this fun book app about Sid, the surfing dinosaur. Haven't heard of Sid? Well, you're in for a treat! Based on a 2003 out-of-print title, Sid and his friend Dally discover the joy of riding the waves one day, using wooden planks to balance on. Then an ice-age comes so quickly that the pair are frozen mid-surf in different parts of the ocean.

The two are inexplicably unharmed by eons of time on ice, because when things get warmer, they find themselves back on the waves near a modern beach. "Everything looks different now, but the waves are still the same and it sure is Read more …

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 …

Clam-I-Am! (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat) by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Young readers will love learning with Clam-I-Am! (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat). This non-fiction title, published first in print in 2005, was created to give children ages 5-8 the chance to explore the fascinating world "where the sea meets the sand". It's the ultimate beach story, with a familiar tour guide, The Cat in the Hat ... and the fish finally gets to have a starring role! This title is part of the Cat-In-The-Hat 'learning library' series, 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 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 …

Books for Kids: At the beach by FUDEA-IIE-UFRO

At the Beach or En La Playa is a delightful digital title for the iPad. It is filled with lovely beach scenes that depict a typical day at the ocean's edge. Every page is full of animated sea creatures & birds, along with interactive elements that animate briefly. The book also has a nice assortment of activities at the end that include reading comprehension questions and other education activities related to an ocean theme.

The story itself is very short, but tells a poem-like tale about a day at the beach. The interactivity ties nicely to each page's text, although there isn't a lot of 'plot' to reinforce. There is a sand castle you can tap to see it fall (or be built), boats that 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 …

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 …

Just Grandma and Me - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media

Just Grandma and Me by Mercer Mayer was published in print in 1983. It is a beloved story about 'Little Critter' and a trip he takes with Grandma to the beach. He is a cheery companion as he 'helps' by washing the sand off her hot dog in the ocean. He also almost blows away with the beach umbrella and gets to bury Grandma in the sand. She shows good cheer and tireless patience with her favorite little guy.

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 Read more …

Elly Book 5 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 goes to the seaside with her friends.

She rides with her friends to the beach, singing all the way. They play in the ocean, build sandcastles and explore the tide pools. Elly even finds a large shell as a souvenir. When it's time to go, the group heads home having had a fun, full day. At bedtime, Elly thinks of all the wonderful adventures she's had that day, putting the sea shell against her ear to hear the sound of the Read more …

The Pirate Princess ~ 3D Interactive Pop-up Book by StoryToys Entertainment Limited

StoryToys is, as far as I am concerned, the pioneer developer for 3D interactive pop-up books. I’ve seen other developers attempt to rip off some of their ideas to little avail. What I also appreciate about StoryToys is that they are continuing to tweak their format with new ideas and original stories. This app, the latest in their series, is more slick and visually impressive than the previous books, and they are really utilizing the iOS features to create excellent and engaging interactive books.

Strangebeard — The Pirate Princess is an interactive book with 3D pop-up pages full of mini-games which complement the storyline. The story is original and the plot Read more …

Josh & Emma Go to the Beach by Jasra Inc

This cute title under the category 'education' is actually a sweet storybook about two kids going to the beach and counting things into their shiny red pail. The counting interactivity is only for numbers 1-5, but it is a good complement to the simple story. This app is appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers in particular. The text is also in a clear, easy to read font that would be suitable for young readers. Nice sound effects accompany most of the tappable interactions.

The illustrations are simple but engaging. The book is also narrated by children, making it appealing to youngsters. The audio doesn't have the same polished, professional feel that many app books now have, but it is 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 …

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 …

A Saltfish Story HD by i-storybook

A Saltfish Story was a surprise favorite in our house this past week. My son loves salt, so the topic was one he was immediately interested in hearing about. The story is a well laid out folktale of unknown origin (and I searched to figure out what culture this little jewel came from, but even the developer's site says "coming soon" so if anyone recognizes it - let me know!). Basically it's a tale about why the sea is salty and about how Salmon came to be forced out to sea for their whole lives until they return to die.

The whole story is very fun, with salt snowing onto three rather odd little figures (a tiger, bunny and an animal I cannot identify, but it's got hooves and is dressed 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 …

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 …

iReading HD - The Fisherman and the Golden Fish by AppleTreeApp

The Golden Fish contains a simple retelling of a folktale about a fisherman who catches a golden fish that can talk and grant wishes.  The fisherman's wife is very greedy, so when he returns to tell her about the encounter, she berates him and makes him ask the fish for more and more, until she wants to be ruler of the sea and have the fish do her bidding.  The characters, like in most folktales, are very one-dimensional, with the fisherman being hen-pecked and his wife being insatiable.  I find this tale a bit harsh in its treatment of women, but it does have a clear moral about not being greedy.

The book is narrated only, without any interactive or animated elements.  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 …
The Wunderglasses by Luftlinie Produktion UG (haftungsbeschraenkt)

The Wunderglasses by Luftlinie Produktion is one story book that I can truly relate to. It reminds me of the first time my daughter wore her glasses and how she kept commenting that she had never seen the world so vivid and beautiful before. It was just amazing how one pair of glasses could make so much difference to her. But whether your kids need corrective glasses or not, they will definitely enjoy this fun and imaginative story about a pair of special glasses.

In this story, Max finds a pair of glasses that can transform his ordinary and boring world into one big personal playground filled with all his favorite things. With the new glasses on, everything is brighter and the colors Read more …

How I Became a Pirate by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

How I Became a Pirate is based on the print title of the same name, published in 2003 by Melinda Long with illustrations by Caldecott Honor-winner David Shannon (for the 1998 classic, No David!). With expert word craft, timing and overall storytelling genius, Long weaves a tale about young Jeremy, a boy on a beach trip with his family. Without a word to his distracted parents, Jeremy joins a band of pirates to help them bury treasure. The adventure is wish-fulfillment at its very best for readers of all ages, as the boy teaches the pirates about soccer, learns to sail the stormy seas and even has a pirate pillow fight. It's not surprising that this title received many accolades in 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 …

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 …

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 …


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