Dear Zoo by Pan Macmillan

Based on the classic 1982 Rod Campbell title, Dear Zoo is an adorable and beautifully enhanced book app that takes the very best of a traditional 'lift-the-flap' title in print and brings it to digital seamlessly. Children will enjoy this story, about a child who writes to the zoo to send a new pet, but each animal is not quite right for different reasons. A fun matching game is also included, letting kids match the animals in the book to the words used to describe them - like "too scary" or "too big". Eventually a perfect pet is sent to the youngster, one that is just right.

This app is well made and intuitive to use, but it does lack some of the settings and features that book app reader Read more …

If I Ran the Zoo - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Published in print in 1950, If I Ran The Zoo, is a Dr. Seuss classic. Young Gerald McGrew decides the exotic animals in the regular zoo are just not interesting enough. If he ran the zoo, he says he would let all the animals out of their cages in favor of a whole set of new creatures, including a ten footed lion and a bird that only eats custard (with sauce made of mustard). Whimsical storytelling, told in rhyme, make this classic Seuss tale appealing decades later, along with great digital enhancements perfect for a modern audience.

For the read-a-long effect, each word is highlighted as it is narrated. Tap on any word to hear it spoken, even in the 'read-it-myself' mode. Read more …

Wild About Books by Random House Digital, Inc.

From Random House Books, this is an exceptional title about a librarian who accidentally drives the bookmobile into the zoo. Determined to inspire a love of reading in her patrons, regardless of their species, Ms. McGrew finds titles for every last animal and even teaches them about how to care for books properly. This whimsical storyline is one that kids will love and identify with too, since young children are often as hard on their books as any monkey in the zoo!

Wild About Books was first published in print in 2004. Author Judy Sierra dedicated the book to Doctor Seuss and it was published on what would have been his 100th birthday. Several places in the book make subtle reference to Read more …

Chimps Should Be Chimps Storybook - Lincoln Park Zoo and Project ChimpCARE by Manning Productions

"In a zoo in a town, like one that you know ..." begins this storybook about our closest primate relatives. We are introduced to the zoo where a 50th birthday party is happening for 'old Poe'. His grand-daughter, Lulu, asks questions about his life that he tells to the reader in brief passages that go back in time. Poe was forced to be in the circus and in movies, showing a dark side to the love affair humans have with their nearest primate kin.

As an educational title, this book is well made and has a nicely crafted story. Enhancements are not quite animation, but do provide movement and great sound effects as the illustrations are panned-over to show each of Poe's reflections on his past. 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 …

The Adventures of Puppup: Lost at the Zoo by Fletcher Grayson

The Adventures of Puppup: Lost at the Zoo from Graymedia Productions, tells the tale of old Puppup, a puppy toy softie, reminiscing about a big adventure trip to the zoo with his girl Julia and her Dad, where he meets a wonderful bunch of friendly animals who help him out. It brings to mind elements of both Finding Nemo and Toy Story but Fletcher Grayson's story is wholly original.

The most striking thing about this interactive book is the illustrations, and I'm not really sure how to describe them. They are a really visually appealing mélange of real photographic images that have been richly textured and artistically rendered with paint strokes and other Impressionistic effects. Read more …

The Lettermen go to the Zoo by Stefan Nowak

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 to the zoo. The narration, a British English speaker, 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 intended to be an educational Read more …

Zoozoo Readables HD - by Cavallo Media by Cavallo Publishing, Inc.

Zoozoo Readables is a reading app based on the series - Zoozoo Into The Wild - available in print as a 'leveled' reader for young children. The app contains eight stories, each based on on a wild animal with simple sentences that build reading skills through repetition, sight words, and highlighting as the text is narrated. A short animation plays on each well-illustrated page to engage children.

If tapped the animation replays, but other than that feature, this title is not really interactive. The eight books contain six pages each with sentences carefully designed by reading specialists, building on familiar concepts, like "I swing in the tree" "I play in the tree" & "I live in Read more …

In The Wild! Learning Library Collection (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat) by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

In The Wild is Oceanhouse Media’s newest Cat in The Hat Learning Library collection yet! It is a perfect set of four books that will get children excited about zoology, just in time for the new school year.

Safari, So Good! is a brand new book and is currently found exclusively with this collection. Children will take a journey deep in the jungles of Africa to learn more about familiar animals like elephants, cheetahs, rhinos. They will also meet unfamiliar ones that may surprise them like the kudu and the sickle horned sable.

If I Ran the Rainforest is an exciting book where children will discover that there are different kinds of rainforests. They will also learn that Read more …

A Troop is a Group of Monkeys by LITTLE BAHALIA PUBLISHING LLC

Little Bahalia Publishing's first book app, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, is a short but sweet title featuring gorgeous illustrations with polished animation and well-crafted interactive elements. Each page has a different animal featured with the proper plural term for a group of each species. From a parliament of owls to a tower of giraffes, children will enjoy learning about the unique (and often comical) names for multiple creatures of any type. Among my child's favorites was the bloat of hippopotami and the quiver of cobras.

The story is simple, but well put together with subtle alliteration and nicely paced rhyming text. Colorful and engaging illustrations come to life with a 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 …

An Amazing Day At The Zoo by Imaginatronics LLC

This educational app is filled with over a dozen detailed, educational descriptions of zoo animals. In a window on each page, there is a video showing the animal in its natural environment. The videos play silently with a background of assorted animal noises. Each page is narrated by a little girl named Sarah who adds personal commentary to many of the stops throughout this 'zoo trip'. Videos can be seen in full screen mode with a quick two finger gesture, although the image is less clear in the larger view.

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 educational though, and my son and I Read more …

The Little Brown Bear Interactive Picture Book by BAYARD PRESSE

The Little Brown Bear Interactive Picture Book,by Bayard Press, is a gentle and easily assessable app for toddlers to learn about everyday routines, celebrations, and the changing of the seasons. There are six scenes and 4 choices within each scene to help build vocabulary and acquaint little ones with what there is to see and explore in their ever changing and broadening view of the world. The six scenes are: Animals, The House, Family Fun, Holidays (vacations), Outings, and even The Four Seasons. In The House, there is the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and living room. Add it all up and there are 24 different environments with over 250 vocabulary words to learn!

By tapping on any of the Read more …

Lars and Friends by Carla Susanto

Some educational apps are rather predictable.  Lars and Friends, a new combination story and puzzle app, is anything but predictable.  From the opening screen, in which Lars, the red horse, has a knot of frogs perched atop his head, to the end, there are plenty of surprises.  This wonderfully creative approach to learning about the animal kingdom makes it a Top Pick at Fun Educational Apps.

Lars and Friends is the creation  Carla Susanto, a mom with an artist's soul.  It is available for iPad and Kindle devices.  The story can be enjoyed in two ways, with a Read by Myself and a Read to Me  Read more …

Safari, So Good (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat) by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Young readers will love learning with Safari, So Good (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat). This non-fiction title, published first in print in 2011, was created to give children ages 5-8 the chance to explore the exciting world of safari animals, 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 …

The Best Teacher Ever - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
The Best Teacher Ever by Mercer Mayer is one of the new adventure with Little Critter, published in print in 2008. In this title, Little Critter tells readers about his favorite teacher, Miss Kitty and all the wonderful things she does for her students each day (which thankfully includes not playing 'cat & mouse' her rodent pupils). The digital version of this book also adds a new twist, keeping track as the young reader tries to find 15 of the little mice and 16 of the 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 Read more …
Steam Train, Dream Train by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Published in print in 2013, this delightful digital book was authored by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, creators of the critcally acclaimed Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. With light animation and educational features like touch-to-hear text, Steam Train, Dream Train captures young listeners with a lyrical tale. Immensely rereadable, this story follows a sleepy-time train filled with animals heading to dreamland. From a dashing young rabbit to snacking dinosaurs, the various scenes will amuse young and old alike.

Extra features include the ability to record your own narration as well as excellent navigation with a nice visual thumbnail Read more …

Cats With Spots - Amazing Animals Series (Interactive Story Book & Educational Apps) by Iva Vlasimsky

Cats With Spots is the first title in an app series about wildlife called "Amazing Animals."  It was developed for TreeTop Library and is available for the iPad.  The app includes a story, written by Iva Vlašimsky, plus photos and videos that describe the cheetah and its habitat.  The story includes both “Read to Me” and “Read By Myself” options to accommodate different levels.  Traditional background music can be turned on or off on the Options page.

There are three main navigation tools.  Pages are turned by swiping the right margin of the screen (to advance) or the left margin (to go Read more …

Photo Tales - Create Photo Stories with Your Kids by tho pham

PhotoTales by Tho Pham is an app for iOS which allows your family to customize a story with your photos and images based on the text provided.  For the purposes of this review, I looked at “A Happy Day in the Zoo” which I customized to be about a recent family trip to the zoo using included images and my own personal photos to make the story more interesting and help to engage my son.  The first time we created the story, my son and I did it together using photos from my iPhone as well as those I stored on our Bevy to pull into the book.  We completed it together and then saved it off to our computer.  The second time I did the same book, I was Read more …

Over in the Jungle by Dawn Publications

Over in the Jungle is a beautifully illustrated book app based on the print title published in 2007. Author Marianne Berkes weaves a simple but sweet story about jungle animals over ten pages, counting one-by-one until by all the animal 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 diverse creatures from monkeys to insects with light interactivity and animation. The jungle comes alive with Jeanette Canyon's original creations. Music is also lovely as an addition to this multi-media app, Read more …