The Year of the Dragon in 3D - A Peek 'n Play Story App by Mobad Games

This is another top notch animated title from Mobad Media, just in time for Chinese New Year! It features scenes that tilt for a 3D effect when the device is moved, lots of interactivity and a story that will engage kids from start to finish. It even includes some great extras, featuring information about the Chinese Zodiac and a series of hidden coins children can find while exploring each page.

Dominic is a young dragon that wants to enter the community boat race with his friend Bo and an assortment of characters representing the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. When no one will help the young crew learn how to paddle, they don't give up. In the end, Dominic saves the day with some Read more …

How To Train Your Dragon- Kids Book HD by FrogDogMedia LLC

This app version of the beloved movie, "How to Train Your Dragon," is a visually beautiful book on the iPad.  It captures all the major plot points from the movie while doing a nice retelling of the touching story of a brainy boy and his dragon.  For fans of the movie, this iPad book version will be a fun trip through all their favorite scenes.

This book is not, however, animated or interactive, which can be a disappointment to kids who are expecting an experience more like the animated iPad movie-book releases.  As a parent, though, I realize that this book might be a nice bedtime treat for a child who loves the movie, something that wouldn't be as easy to pull off with a Read more …

Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Really BIG Adventure by Egmont UK

Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Really BIG Adventure is an amazing digital offering, adapted from a 2009 award winning print title for readers age 4-8. It features small animated touches and fun interactivity. The real treat, though, can be found in Stephenson's gorgeous illustrations and story, narrated engagingly by Michael Maloney. In print, this book was shortlisted for the Red House Children’s Book award and a winner of the Practical Pre-School Bronze medal.

The 5-star reviews at Amazon.com from readers just reinforce the book's literary reception. Charlie is a little boy with a wild imagination. He ventures into a scary castle to find a little princess having a Read more …

Look Out Larry! by Wasabi Productions Pty Ltd

Larry the lazy lizard is back in this cute sequel. In this title, the reader gets to help Larry out (instead of bugging him) by poking Larry to warn him about several hazards. You can wake Larry up from his nap so he can escape from a spider, snake, eagle and many other dangers. Then, as a bonus treat, a second series of pages show Larry 'dreaming' of being able to vanquish his predators. For instance, in his dream he doesn't run away from the spider. Instead, he becomes a fire-breathing dragon and scares the spider away. This extra story is adorable and the entire book is one of my little boy's favorite apps.

It's been nearly a year since the first book in this series was published. At the Read more …

Doris and the Dragon Tree by Rats on Cats Publishing Handelsbolag

Doris and the Dragon Tree is an exceptionally cute and engaging story about a little girl with a big imagination. One day she finds a tiny seed pit on the playground and decides it might be from a dragon. She plants the seed and waits for it to grow, which takes a very long time. Her little sister is skeptical at first, but soon branches appear with tiny 'dragon' buds. The dragons grow, eating up everything in the family's refrigerator and making mischief with their smoky dragon farts.

There is no question that this is a winning story, well crafted and accompanied by lovely narration (although it does not highlight). The illustrations are also fun, with a combination of hand drawn Read more …

Storm & Skye - An Animated Magical Adventure Story for Kids by digimoo bv

Stunningly beautiful, magical, and filled with the wonders of imagination, Digimoo Studios has accomplished what few others can achieve in an audio-visual storybook. Storm and Skye – magical adventure story for kids has the feel of a high production movie, all contained within a narrated picture book format. The app is constructed into a chapter book. The nine chapters allow for natural pauses and facilitate time for processing, interaction or questions between an adult and child. The pairing of music and storytelling sets the imagination soaring by adding an increased depth and dimension, and helps kids learn the rhythm, cadence and emotional intent of the spoken Read more …

Welcome to Monster Isle in 3D - A Peek 'n Play Story App by Mobad Games

Mobad Games has once again brought a 3D book app to the iPad for a storytelling adventure your child will not soon forget. It begins not unlike Gilligan's Island, with a group of innocent tourists going for a short boat tour. Lots of interactive elements and light animation enhance the story nicely, along with dozens of fun items to find. A detailed list of the hidden 'extras' can be found in the page-guide and includes pieces of the map of Monster Isle, which can then be viewed at the end of the story.

Settings for this title include the ability to turn hints on or off, silence the background music (a familiar tune from Mobad's previous apps plays that is nice enough, but on a 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 …

Baby's First Monsters: ABCs by Zachary Fisher

Baby's First Monsters: ABC is a unique approach to a children's alphabet book. Instead of the traditional objects found in alphabet books, like toys and cute baby animals, this title has an assortment of "legendary creatures and mythical monsters". There is even a complete wiki-sourced glossary to help out those less familiar with the mythical world. The creatures range from an 'Angha' (mythical giant bird with head of dog & claws of lion) to a Zilant (A winged snake/dragon like creature).

The app is separated into 3 sections plus the glossary of terms. There is the "Alliteration Academy" which contains 26 pages with each animal representing the letters of the alphabet. Then there Read more …

Shrek Forever After- Kids' Book HD by FrogDog Media

This app version of the beloved movie, "Shrek Forever After," is a visually beautiful book on the iPad.  It has still images of all the major plot points from the movie while doing a nice retelling of Shrek's run-in with Rumpelstiltskin.  The story has a nice moral, too, since in the end Shrek learns to appreciate what he has.  For fans of the movie, this iPad book version will also be a fun trip through all their favorite scenes.

This book is not, however, animated in any way, which can be a disappointment to kids who are expecting an experience more like the animated iPad movie-book releases.  As a parent, though, I realize that this book might be a nice bedtime treat Read more …

Rolling Pea by KievSeaPirates

Note: Contains (still) Ad for Mazda Cars upon opening app, sponsor website accessible under parental 'gate'.

Rolling Pea, developed by KievSeaPirates and illustrated by Ivan Sulima, is an Eastern European folk tale from the Ukraine. This handsomely illustrated chronicle features a determined little boy named “Rolling Pea” who grows up to have amazing strength and embarks on a quest to rescue his brothers and sisters from a dungeon guarded by the fierce dragon. The story has spectacularly detailed artwork which is combined with subtle and detailed interactivity, fabulous sound effects and original music, all making Read more …

Kung Fu Panda 2 Storybook by FrogDogMedia LLC

This app version of the movie, "Kung Fu Panda 2," is a visually beautiful book on the iPad.  It captures all the major plot points from the movie while doing a nice retelling of Po "living his dream as the Dragon Warrior protecting the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung fu masters, the Furious Five". For fans of the Kung Fu Panda movies, this iPad book version will be a fun trip through all their favorite scenes.

This book is not animated or interactive, but instead a true 'storybook' in digital form, with a clean, easy to read font and delightful narration featuring authentic voices of the characters in the movie. I particularly like these storybooks as a Read more …

Koto Go Silence by Daniel Shneor

Koto is a dog with a rich fantasy life that we learn about in this digital title. It alternates between highly animated scenes and a more simple style of two-color line drawings with the story's text. Nice narration and sound effects round out this title, although it is not an easy one to read without the voice-over.

In the text of the story we learn about what Koto imagines he is hearing, as he pictures spirits, monsters, witches and dragons. After the final narrated segment, a short animated video plays showing that the real sounds are coming from things like the washing machine, television, and just the wind. The artistic style of the two story elements is very different, as Koto goes Read more …

Dragon and Wolf - An Interactive Children`s Book by Sergey Kochugov

Dragon and Wolf Treasure is a storybook about two little boys who go on an imaginative adventure. It is filled with colorful illustrations that are really gorgeous, along with lots of lightly animated and interactive elements that are polished and mostly story-related. The app is also solidly made, with great settings that let you choose any page and even expand the text boxes for easier reading. So why such a low rating overall? It's simple - this storybook was originally created for a Russian speaking audience (see the Russian version under 'other versions' tab above) but has not been well translated. It may have been a more or less literal translation, but it is not polished or Read more …