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

Published in print in 1956, If I Ran The Circus, is similar to the Dr. Seuss classic, If I Ran the Zoo. In this title, a boy named Morris McGurk lets his imagination literally run wild, picturing a grand circus in an empty lot. From fanciful acts like a walrus that cam stand on one whisker to a herd of "Through-Horns-Jumping-Deer", McGurk's plans grow more and more elaborate.

However, McGurk's circus ideas rely heavily on a rather tired looking old man named Mr. Sneelock. Some have suggested this title belongs in the genre of Seuss books with a message, with this one, perhaps, focusing on the dangers of planning too grandly, especially when relying on the good will and efforts of Read more …

Dumbo: Disney Classics by Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications

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The Spellinguists by Todd Mariani

This fascinating little digital book app has a unique look. The setting is a 'big top' with performers who would be right at home in an old-fashioned circus. The book features two sisters (who are siamese twins) as well as other traditional performers, like a bearded lady, snake charmer and knife thrower. The two sisters, Daisy & Lucille, also have another physical oddity - long snake-like tongues. This fits into the story as they perform literal 'tongue twisting' with accompanying storytelling in rhyme.

The detailed illustrations are line drawings with almost no color. In fact, each page has only one item that appears as a color image. The illustrations depict the sisters performing Read more …

The Lettermen go to the Circus 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 circus. 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 …

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 …

Bita's Magic Circus by 4 DIMENSAO DESIGN E TECNOLOGIA LTDA

Bita is a fanciful character in this new book, carrying a whole magical circus in a small bottle tucked inside his coat pocket. When the performers emerge, in a puff of smoke, readers are treated to descriptions of each unique performer. There isn't any story beyond this introduction, but Bita's circus is populated by an enchanting bunch of characters who pack enough whimsy to make a short, but fun read.

The book is solidly made, but appears to be more of a 'lite' version or 'teaser' to introduce readers to a series of books about Bita's Circus. My main complaint with this otherwise cute little app is that it is very difficult to page through the book without accidentally tapping one 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 …

RealPinocchio - interactive book HD Full by Andrey Alexandrovich

There are many versions of the story of Pinocchio and his adventures in the app store (and in print), but this one is special in the same way as the popular Alice for iPad app, providing young kids 8 and up, with a version that is accessible for modern readers and also nicely crafted for their reading level (4th-6th grade). This title is not narrated, however, which was fine for Alice when it launched with its impressive and fun physics-based interactive elements in 2010, but two years later, this approach to a public domain storybook seems incomplete without a "read to me" option.

Very fun interactive elements enhance this app nicely, including lots of story-related additions that can Read more …

Even Monsters Are Shy by Busy Bee Studios

 Busy Bee Studios, developer of award winning Even Monsters Get Sick, is back with another equally entertaining and heartwarming book, Even Monsters Are Shy. Even Monsters Are Shy tells the story of Ben and his monster Gurk. Ben receives Gurk as a birthday present and although they have a lot of fun together, they are unable to enjoy group activities because Gurk is extremely shy. Ben wants to take Gurk to see the circus and tries to help him be more comfortable making new friends and being with others, but nothing works. Sadly, Ben gives his circus tickets away. Gurk feels bad and comes up with a plan to make things better. In doing so Gurk surprises not only Ben, but Read more …