Love, The App by Pablo Curti

There are very few apps that come across my tablet these days that 'wow' me on any level. Love, the app is simply the most exceptional app I have seen in 2014 and would be in my "all time" top 10 for the BEST offerings for children AND adults in the digital app market since its inception five years ago. It embodies every element of a good story, irregardless of format. It is moving, thoughtfully constructed and experienced on an almost visceral level when delivered in the beautiful digital "app" package from Niño Studio.

"Once upon a time ... there was a little girl," begins this heart-wrenching and (in the end) uplifting storybook. Her parents "went away" when Read more …

I Love You Too - Ziggy Marley by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Based on a print title, also published this year, I Love You Too, is a digital book by Ziggy Marley. It is based on Marley's 2009 song by the same name, featuring the power of love between a parent and child. According to Ziggy:

"One day I was in my kitchen making breakfast with my then three-year-old daughter Judah. She looked at me and said, 'I love you.' I spontaneously replied to her, 'I love you too.' From that came the song and now the book based on the lyrics. I hope you share and enjoy this with your loved ones as I have with mine."

This powerful and well-loved song makes a beautiful story, accompanied by color-drenched illustrations from Ag Jatkowska. The digital platform is Read more …

Happy Valentine’s Day, Little Critter! by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
Happy Valentine's Day, Little Critter! by Mercer Mayer is one of the "New Adventure" books with Little Critter, published in print in 2005. In this title, Little Critter tells readers about his class making cards, decorating and having a Valentine's Day party. The digital version of this book also adds a new twist, keeping track as the young reader tries to find 13 of the little mice and 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 resembles a hedgehog, hamster or guinea pig." So, basically he's a rodent ... although a Read more …
Get There by CSIO - SOCIETA' DI INFORMATICA E ORGANIZZAZIONE S.R.L.

Bobo is a young boy peering into the night sky at the moon. He loves her and wants to find a way up there to tell her so. With light animation and creative interactivity, this storybook brings a delightful story to life in your child's hands. It also features great narration and relaxing background music that makes this a bedtime treat for little ones.

Each page has great plot-related interactivity, like dragging Bobo's arms upward (see them stretch), shaking the iPad to tilt the moon, or moving Bobo up a rope to climb. There are some slightly animated elements to go with the interactions, but nothing too stimulating or distracting to the storyline.

The book is also solidly made with nice Read more …

The Kissing Hand by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Based on the 1993 print title, this is an exceptional book app. It stands out not only for its digital charms, but for the role the story has played in comforting young children dealing with separation anxiety for two decades. This Oceanhouse Media title tells the tale of young Chester, a raccoon who is feeling nervous about going to school. "Please may I stay with you?" he begs his mother. She tells him about all the wonderful experiences and friendships he will make at school, but also responds to Chester's heartbreaking plea, sharing a 'secret' he can cherish even when he is far away from home.

The story is well crafted and beautifully imagined in illustrated form. A touching Read more …

Will & Kate by Ink Robin, Inc

New Update: Just in time for the royal baby, Ink Robin has updated their beautiful book app to extend the 'happily ever after' for the royal couple. Beautifully done and now a universal app. Read our original review from April 25, 2011:

"Once upon a time in a delightful country called England, there lived a young prince," begins Will & Kate: A Love Story, by Ink Robin. This is a truly modern fairy tale that takes full advantage of a modern medium. It is nicely interactive, narrated and lightly animated in a way that captures the sweet story of the royal "it" couple perfectly.

The illustrator's style, with several scenes of paper cut-outs on a photo-background, is especially Read more …

Hurray for Today! (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat) by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Young readers will love learning with Hurray for Today! (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat). This non-fiction title, published first in print in 2004, was created to give children ages 5-8 the chance to learn about the origin of US holidays, 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 interactivity along Read more …

I Love You All The Time by Cookie Bear Press, Inc.

With Goodnight Moon, the most read bedtime board book of all time now an app, it stands to reason Cookie Bear Press would jump on the bandwagon as well with their own 1999 classic I Love You All the Time. My twins were born in 2002 and I got a copy of this book with the bright red cover and big heart as a shower gift. I don't remember much from those intensely sleep deprived years, but I do remember reading this book over and over.

This sugar sweet bedtime affirmation by authors Jessica Elin Hirschman and Jennifer Elin Cole has made the transition from paper to pixels rather well. The simplicity of the original is carried over. This is a bedtime story so everything is low key and Read more …

I Love My Dad by Snappyant Pty. Ltd.

I Love My Dad is a lightly animated and interactive app based on the popular print title, "I Love My Dad" (published in 2009), by Anna Walker. It features lovely narration and lots of fun sound effects. Even the youngest children will enjoy this simple storybook, although adults will also be touched by its short but sweet tale about a young zebra's paternal affection. Additional settings to adjust the audio, for silent reading, would be nice, but the animation & interactive elements are seamlessly integrated into the storytelling in this well-produced digital publication.

Highly Recommended.

This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab Read more …

My Mom’s the Best by Snappyant Pty. Ltd.

My Mom's the Best is a lightly animated and interactive app based on the popular print title, "My Mum's the Best" (published in Australia in 2007), by Rosie Smith with adorable illustrations from Brian Whatley. It features lovely narration and lots of fun sound effects. Even the youngest children will enjoy this simple storybook, although adults will also be touched by its subltle message of mother-child affection. Includes mothers from all parts of the animal kingdom (Bears, Dogs, Penguins, Fish, Monkeys, Seals, Parrots, Frogs, Elephants, Bats & Hippos). The illustrations and text go together seamlessly in this well-produced digital publication.

Recommended.

This app has been Read more …

Wubbzy Loves You by CUPCAKE DIGITAL INC

Packed with games and fun interactions, fans of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy will love this celebration of friendship day. For more information about the storytelling style of this title, see our reviews of the app series, including Wubbzy's Dance Party and Wubbzy the Superhero.

Recommended.

This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.

Elmo Loves You! by StoryToys Entertainment Limited

I'm the parent of a nearly 2-year-old, and Elmo is right in my wheelhouse. The new app Elmo Loves You is a Top Pick for this mom. Its interactive features and pop-up book format make this an app that keeps our youngest readers completely engaged. Elmo Loves You by StoryToys follows in the footsteps of its predecessor apps like There's a Monster at the End of This Book. Based on the board book with the same name, this childhood favorite is an outstanding example of an interactive book.

Geared towards children ages 2 to 4, the book capitalizes on the impulsivity of small children. Simply tapping on anything in the book elicits a sound Read more …

Hiku by Top That! Publishing

Hiku is a truly adorable little penguin who stars on every page of this book with his cute 'heart-shaped' tummy. The interactivity in this book is fun for kids, since it involves trying to find Hiku among the other similar looking penguins. If the child taps on the wrong part of the page, they hear variations on "colder - warmer" as they get closer to Hiku and "Alright!" or "There's Hiku!" or "That's Terrific!" when they tap on Hiku correctly.

The only gripe I have with this otherwise delightful way of engaging my child with the story is that touching the page during the audio narration causes it to stop abruptly, which is annoying, to say the least. So, it's best to either let the Read more …

A Little Book About Feelings by Take 2 Ventures LLC

"Feelings are a part of you and everyone you know," begins this short digital book about the way we feel. Children from toddlers to 1st grade will enjoy this brief description of the world of feelings. The title is very lightly animated & interactive, told with adorable pictures of a felted teddy bear family and the lovely voice of Ruby, from the feelings show, narrating.

The book describes how we all have feelings, even our pets. Some feelings feel good, others are uncomfortable, but ultimately everyone needs to listen to their feelings to understand themselves better. This title does a nice job explaining a big concept to little ones, who are notorious for having big feelings that Read more …

A Hug and a Kiss by Tizio BV

A Hug and a Kiss for iPad/iPhone is from the Dutch team "Sieneke & Tineke" that created the toddler ebook: What are you Eating? reviewed earlier this month. This ebook is also for toddlers and is therefore very cute, but also short. It is perfect for little ones at bedtime and a consistent favorite of my child.

The sound effects are delightful. We especially liked the sound the snail makes when it gives its 'kiss'. There are a few sounds to trigger by tapping the pictures on every page. The animals make great sounds (kissing, roaring, etc.) and the little boy is adorable with his expressive sounds - from scared to silly.

The illustrations are hand-drawn and based on the Read more …

Love You Back! by Umesh shukla

Based on a 2011 print title by the same name, Love You Back! is a love story written from a little girl to her grandmother. Reflecting on the tender care her grandma gave her when she was little, the girl in the story says, "Now your days are longer ... and mine are too short. The times that we meet are further apart, but grandma I come to you to say with my whole heart, I love you back!"

My own paternal grandmother passed away just two weeks ago and this title hit me in the gut, making me wish I had thanked her more before she was unable to recognize me. The touching care we give to our elderly loved ones is such a wonderful subject for a storybook and makes for a perfect read for Read more …

All my Love (for You) HD by Dominique Maes - CotCotCot-apps.com by Des Carabistouilles SPRL

All My Love (for you) is a touching storybook with unique interactivity and gorgeous drawings by Belgian author and illustrator Dominique Maes. The blue line drawings are the highlight of this book app, featuring charming details and expressive characters on pages that scroll for additional exploration. The main character is a man with a heart for a head, telling the tale in the first person. He shares how much he loves you with pages of gifts he'd like to give. Filled with dozens of hidden interactive surprises, this lightly animated tale is one that children and adults will enjoy sharing.

There is a lot to explore within this app's 18 page storybook, including embedded extras. Scroll up Read more …

Biscuit's Valentine's Day by zuuka incorporated

This is an adorable book based on a print series popular over the last decade. Little Biscuit is a cute puppy who helps his little girl deliver valentine's to their friends and family one snowy February day. From cards & cookies to ribbon for the cat, this duo shows the spirit of giving. This app is beautifully illustrated with light animations that are triggered by tapping the images.

Text highlights as narrated and has simple sentence structure perfect for young learner readers. There is also a selection of extras including coloring pages, memory game, sticker book and puzzles. These extras are simple but well made, making this otherwise very short title full of fun for young Read more …

Vlad's Vampire Bats by Frosby Designs Ltd.

Vlad is a Vampire with a fate as terrible as King Midas ... only Vlad turns everything into bats not gold. This makes poor Vlad very lonely. But love is in the air, even for our fanged-friend Vlad. One day he finds a beautiful girl vampire picking flowers in the woods and falls in love. The two turn his castle into a sanctuary for bats and live happily ever after ... a gentle ending for a book about vampires.

This title features fun computer-graphic style illustrations and a story that will warm even the coldest vampire heart. Animations are very slight, but satisfying. Interactive elements are nicely tied to the storyline (for the most part) and will have young readers eager to turn the Read more …

Emma Loves Pink by WingedChariot Press

Emma loves Pink is an adorable little ebook with charming illustrations and sweet narration. The story is about Emma, a little girl who loves pink. And I mean REALLY loves pink. She'd like everything to be pink, even the trees and sky. When her froggy friend gives her a present, she imagines all sorts of pink things it could be ... but then discovers it is a cabbage. This green veggie is tasty though and she decides maybe green isn't such a bad color afterall. When she kisses froggy on the cheek to thank him, he turns pink with embarrassment, much to her delight.

This book has simple page swiping and is solidly made. There is also a small 'extra' called "stickers" that lets the child pick 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 …

Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose makes a great transition from print to digital, with top-notch features from Oceanhouse Media. Enhancements are primarily educational and focused on word recognition. Great narration with highlighting word-by-word reinforces the text and if a child taps on any word, they can hear it spoken again. If you tap on an image in the illustrations, the word will appear with accompanying audio. And as a bonus, if that image is present in the text of the story, the word will highlight again, too.

Most Dr. Seuss OmBooks also aren't animated, but many pages begin by panning over Seuss' classic original artwork, zooming in and out to show off each chunk of text in a Read more …

The Berenstain Bears Love Their Neighbors by Oceanhouse Media

The Berenstain Bears Love Their Neighbors by Jan & Mike Berenstain was published in print in 2009.  it's part of the Little Lights Berenstain Bear series that "helps children learn how God wants them to live every day." This book has as its central message the need to be good neighbors and appreciate people for their actions, not their appearances.

This book received mostly good reviews for the print version at Amazon.com. There was one review that does point out a slight inconsistency, though. If you (or your child) are fans of the whole series of Berenstain Bears books, it should be noted that in this book the history of the Bogg Brothers is bit overlooked. The brothers are Read more …

Auracle - Love You to the Moon & Back by Auryn, Inc

This inspirational little book is filled with warm illustrations that evoke a simpler time along with lyrical text that reads like a poem or love letter. The book is very short but can be personalized with your own text and narration. It also features lovely narration that highlights as read and simple, but intuitive settings.

The book is not animated but does have a little interactivity. If you tap on many of the images, a word briefly appears to represent that image along with audio voice-over. This solidly made book also has easy-to-read text suitable for young readers, along with swipe-style page turning.

Personalization settings allow the user to enter their own text & narration Read more …


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