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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Angus the Irritable Bull by Watermark Limited

We all know an Angus in real life — the grumpy person everyone is afraid to upset lest they have to deal with the bull. There is a possibility that I am married to an Angus (not really, my darling husband, go back to stomping daisies while I review). It's important to remember that irritable people, who are not like my husband at all, might not even know why they are grumpy and they just need a friend who will stick by them.

Angus is a grumpy bull. The cows, the dogs and even the farmer avoid him until one day, a little bird lands on his back. Angus tries to shoo the bird, but the bird takes up residence and without giving the ending away, makes Angus' life better.

The Read more …

Four little corners by DADA Company Edutainment S.L.

Four Little Corners, by DADA Company, is a simple storybook app with a sophisticated message - fitting in with your peers can be as difficult as fitting a square peg through a round hole. Wow! Four Little Corners is digital masterpiece, based on the original book by Jérôme Ruillier, whose message is a timeless classic.

We LOVE this unassuming yet profound story/app; it is a delightfully darling little tale that has such a powerful message! Four Little Corners reinforces integral values such as friendship, integration, equality participation, comradeship, and social justice. The message that it is just fine to be different comes through loud and 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.

The UnStealer by Joshua Wilson

The UnStealer, by Joshua and Donna Wilson, is a new book app from developer the happy dandelion, with an enhanced tale about semantics that is never un-satisfying. The 'unstealer' is a bandit who steals the prefix 'un' from the front of many otherwise un-happy utterances. He is pictured primarily in silhouette as he leaves each page, although a full picture is on the cover, showing him with UN's spilling out of his pockets. These fun illustrations create a nice visual background for a well-written picture book about modifying the meaning of words (for the better).

A sad clown is cheered up when his unfunny feelings are 'undone' by this word-smithing thief, as well as many Read more …

Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are by Electric Eggplant

I don't review a lot of books for older readers, but this graphic novel release of the 1st book in the Middle School Confidential series is really a stunning offering in the App Store. It isn't narrated, but even younger kids will enjoy having the stories read to them. I think many elementary age children will relate to the topics, like self-consciousness, bullying, stress, fitting in, sticky issues in friendships and learning to like yourself.

The book is developmentally perfect for tweens & teens, but the content was even appropriate for my preschooler (although some of the concepts were over his head). It is even an entertaining read & nice refresher for adults, since these Read more …

Middle School Confidential 2: Real Friends vs. the Other Kind by Electric Eggplant

The next title in the Middle School Confidential series is finally available for the iPad. This remarkable series is a must read for tweens & teens and a 'must download' for parents, educators and other concerned adults who want the young people in their lives to manage the typical struggles of adolescence just a little bit better. This series is really unique, offering something rare in the App Store; it's polished and well-crafted to the adult eye, but more importantly, teens will relate and enjoy the graphic novel format.

Many of my fans may not realize I am new to the world of children's literature, but if I am an expert in anything, it is actually teens. I spent the past two Read more …

Middle School Confidential 3: What’s Up with My Family? by Electric Eggplant

The third title in the Middle School Confidential series is now available for the iPad. This remarkable series is a must read for tweens & teens and a 'must download' for parents, educators and other concerned adults who want the young people in their lives to manage the typical struggles of adolescence just a little bit better. This series is really unique, offering something rare in the App Store; it's polished and well-crafted to the adult eye, but more importantly, teens will relate and enjoy the graphic novel format.

Many of my fans may not realize I am new to the world of children's literature, but if I am an expert in anything, it is actually teens. I spent the past two decades Read more …

Little Critter Collection #1 by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

An exceptional new app for young readers (with ten books in one) is now available from Oceanhouse Media! This is the digital version of the print books, released from 1975 through 1992, by Mercer Mayer.

This collection includes the following digital titles (click on the title to link to our review):

The New Baby

Just Me and My Mom

Just Grandma and Me

I Was So Mad

All By Myself

I Just Forgot

Me Too!

When I Get Bigger

The New Potty

Just For You

These titles have been beloved for years in print and get a new life in digital, including educational enhancements. For the read-a-long effect, each word is highlighted as it is read. Tap on any word to hear it spoken, even in the Read more …

Auryn – Van Gogh and the Sunflowers by Auryn, Inc

Van Gogh and the Sunflowers is an extraordinary app with unique interactivity. The characters in this book, based on a gorgeous print title published in 2007, are all in motion. Characters in the story run, work and paint in scenes that can also be viewed (just tap the settings button) with their inner-workings exposed. You can see the mechanism behind the motion in a way that is very similar to Three Little Pigs and the Secrets of a Popup Book - a very cool effect.

The book is about a boy named Camille who lives in a village where sunflowers grow wild. One day a strange man arrives in town and begins to paint. Camille's family befriends the poor traveler, Vincent van 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 …

Martina 1 - Goodbye Grandpa by Carles Coll Madrenas

This digital book is very simple in it's construction but complex in its purpose. The collection of stories it comes from, known as the "Martina Collection" is designed "to educate children about their feelings in a natural way, without changing words and hiding things." The topic of this storybook is the death of a grandparent, a very solemn and specific topic. While it is obviously not appropriate for all-occassion reading, it is a very good book to have on hand for the specific challenge of explaining the death of a loved one to young children.

The book is not narrated and has no settings, sound or other elements that take advantage of the platform, although given its somber subject, Read more …

The Tree I See - Interactive Storybook by Aridan Books, Inc.

"Do you see the tree I see? It's short and small, just like me," begins this sweet rhyming tale by Aridan Books. It is told in the first person by a little boy who befriends a tree and learns a heart-warming lesson in the process. Somewhat reminiscent of The Giving Tree, this short picture book shows a tree that provides shelter and sustenance to many creatures. It has an expressive face and 'arms like you and me' (roots), all personified beautifully with animation.

At first it's just the boy who rests on its trunk, but soon many animal friends join the tree, who was once sad and lonely. A squirrel seeks nuts, several birds a nesting place, and more in this title that is as Read more …

Be a Buddy, Not a Bully -- A Tales of Midlandia Storybook by National Network of Digital Schools Corp

Be a Buddy, Not a Bully written by Michael Scotto and developed by Midlandia Press is the third iPad book app in the “Tales of Midlandia” series. Just on time for back to school, it is a fantastic book that raises the sensitive issue about bullying via a great story about friendship, fairness and sharing with stunning illustrations, top audio and great interactive features ... Another Fun Educational Top Pick!

Be a Buddy, Not a Bully is the third in the Tales of Midlandia series. It is about sweet Harvest the farmer who has a problem with Buck the banker. Buck is a mean little guy who is digging Harvest’s corn field Read more …

Brave Rooney by Bacciz,LLC

Brave Rooney is an ordinary boy in an extraordinary situation. He goes to school in Magesticville, a place where everyone is a super-hero. But Rooney lives on the border with Normalville and is decidely not super at anything. The school even has to hire a school nurse for the first time, just for Rooney. No one had ever gotten sick before he attended. But despite his struggles to fit in, Rooney turns out to have one thing the other 'super' kids do not, making him a hero of sorts for a unique kind of bravery.

Featuring cute cartoon drawings and a storyline kids will love, this book app hits just the right balance between story and enhancements. It has light animations that highlight fun Read more …

Wince - Don't Feed The WorryBug (Full Version) by iMagine machine LLC

This book app, reviewed in print with 5-stars by Amazon.com customers, is a delightful way to introduce complex concepts to children about complex emotions like anxiety and obsessive worrying. As a digital app it provides a unique experience, with light enhancements that are nicely tailored to the narrative.~ Carisa

iMagine Machine is delighted to announce its first book app created in collaboration with , Wince-Don’t Feed the WorryBug. Written and illustrated by Andi Green, WorryWoos is a series of books and toys created especially to promote emotional wellness in children.  Winning awards, accolades and praise, Worry Woos have found their way into the hearts of parents and Read more …

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 …

Just Lost - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Just Lost - Little Critter by Mercer Mayer is based on one of the sweetest Little Critter titles, published in print in 1994. In this book, Little Critter goes shopping at the mall with his mom but looses track of her in the crowd. He explores the stores (starting with toys, of course) and makes mischief before finally being reunited with his family. The digital version of this book also adds a new twist, keeping track as the young reader tries to find all 21 of the little mice that Mayer hid in his detailed illustrations.

 
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 Read more …
The Body Language of Veronica Sue by Black Dog Books, LLC

From the developer of the "Violet" series of book apps comes, Veronica Sue, a little frog who helps young children get in touch with their feelings and physical reactions to everyday events. Veronica is adorable and has a body that 'talks to herself' telling her more about how she feels. From sweating in the sun to feeling shy around new kids, this theme continues on over a dozen beautiful pages with light animation and interactivity.

This book also has lovely background music that pairs nicely with the expressive illustrations, athough it is on a rather short loop. The story itself has nice pacing that is made even better with the engaging narration (although it does not highlight as Read more …

Rom and the whale of dreams by BelMontis Publishers Pte. Ltd.

Rom and the Whale of Dreams, by BelMontis, is a magical dreamy tale written by Jose Miguel Vilar-Bou and illustrated by Alejaandra Zuniga that takes place in the enchanting Kingdom of Gypsies called Numia. This is where imagination is the ruler and dreaming is a thing of the past. For the people of Numia have forgotten how to dream and must suffice with only their daydreams. The young Prince Rom has a recurring dream about a whale creature and he decides to go off looking for this mysterious animal. This wonderful fairy-like tale is available in three different languages, English, Chinese and Spanish.

What child doesn’t love a great story? Great stories never grow old! 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 …

Caillou: What's That Funny Noise? - i Read With learning method and creative game for preschool kids by Tribal Nova

iRead With is a new educational app series from Canadian app developer Tribal Nova, developers of the iLearn with series of educational apps. The first 2 books in the series feature Caillou the popular children’s television character. The books are designed to be used by parents with their preschooler to help prepare them to learn to read. They were developed with McGill University’s Child Phonology Lab and uses the Dialogic Reading method. Simply put this method encourages parents to interact with children when reading to them- prompting them with questions , expanding on their responses, re-iterating important information and encouraging them to re-tell the story.

This Read more …

Extraordinary Jenny Jones by Paperplane Pilots Pte Ltd

When my daughter was very little, she tried to understand her place in a world dominated by a capable, confident big sister. Repeatedly, she wondered, “What’s special about me?” Children want to know what makes them special, and when they find out, they tend to be happier and more content. Extraordinary Jenny Jones is a great story app to enjoy with a child age 3-10 who wants to discover what being unique is all about.

Extraordinary Jenny Jones by Paperplane, is designed specifically for the iPad (version 2 or later).  It has the features we have come to expect in high quality storybook apps, namely a Read to Me option with a professional narrator, interesting and Read more …

Wenda the Wacky Wiggler- Interactive Storybook by Aslan Studios Inc

Wenda the Wacky Wiggler, by Aslan Studios, is a storybook app celebrating individuality and the pursuit of sharing happiness. Narrated by writer/producer Christopher Aslan and illustrated by Emily Mullock this winning team has put together a darling story stressing the values and importance of being oneself and not letting the negativity of others interfere with who you are.

The story begins with Wenda and what she does best – dance, laugh and wiggle with joy. It appears that she is in perpetual motion. This exceptional girl, who is always upbeat and not accepted in Gloomy Town, never loses site of who she is. When the gloomy people in the town stop Read more …

Royal Little Pest HD by Take 2 Ventures LLC

I really enjoyed A Royal Little Pest written by Anita Reynolds MacArthur and illustrated by Karen Roy. This is a great example of how a fun storybook app can teach little ones about the benefits of positive behavior. The story starts out with us being introduced to Prince Hayden MacCheeky who is a real little prince who lives with his royal brother and sister, parents and royal dog, Goober, in their royal castle. Prince Hayden MacCheeky loves to play around with his brother and sister but not necessarily the way they would like to him to play with them.

You see – Hayden is a bit of a pest and can’t understand why his siblings don’t like to play with him. One 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 …

Zanny: Born to Run by Extra Special Kids, LLC

"Zanny" was a hit in our house right away, partly because 'Zanny' is my child's nick-name. It is a relatively short book, but one that is fun and interactive. I would suggest using it with younger kids, possibly even as young as two ... the over 6 set might find it a bit boring after the first couple reads.

The story follows a very active boy, Zanny, as he runs, runs, runs, through everything he does all day, with fun interactions like tapping on Zanny to see him run off the page or playing with a ball (by either dragging or just shaking the iPad). Initially, I questioned myself about giving this 5 stars since I didn't give it five stars in any individual category. But I stand by my rating.

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 …

It's Mine by chi kin cheong

This highly interactive book app features engaging ways to draw the reader into the story. Young readers will enjoy spinning the globe, blowing into the microphone and shaking the device, among other tappable elements to discover a world of edutainment within this storytelling app. The plot is simple and fable-like, centered on two store owners who are convinced that one very cute kitten belongs to them alone. In true feline fashion, the cat has been eating twice for every meal and loving it, until he gets sick and the vet discovers his double-life. The two shop keepers battle for this kitty's affections but in the end they discover the joy of sharing much more than a treasured pet.

While 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 Gift: An Interactive Storybook by Persian Cat Press Ltd

Inside a floating clamshell, a baby washes ashore at the feet of a young boy who picks her up lovingly. The story of The Gift unfolds from here, with the boy trying to wake the sleeping babe with the help of seven unusual creatures called "Oomorels". This digital book is lightly animated and full of unique interactivity that will engage readers in the story's progress.

Pages turn by tapping the right, bottom-hand corner, shown as a curled edge. Lovely and expressive narration with a British accent is available, although there is no highlighting to go along. The story's text covers up the illustrations in most scenes, but can be hidden with the tap of an arrow. This was an interruption in Read more …

The Berenstain Bears Hug and Make Up by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

There have been hundreds of Berenstain Bears stories published since the first one debuted 1962. Hug and Make Up is one of HarperCollins square paperback series, published in 2006 after an earlier 1992 publication date. According to Wikipedia:

"The books feature a family of anthropomorphic grizzly bears who generally learn a moral or safety-related lesson in the course of each story. Since the 1962 debut of the first Berenstain Bears book, The Big Honey Hunt, the series has grown to over 300 titles, which have sold approximately 260 million copies in 23 languages."

This formula, sometimes criticized for being too moralistically Read more …

A Parcel of Courage - interactive picture book with an extra original set of 4 learning games by Mariya Stavinskaya

Three young boys wonder one day, how far away do grandma and grandpa live? They want their grandparents to visit, but they live VERY far away, a 10-11 hour plane ride, in fact. And Grandma is afraid of flying. How can they help her? Their mother suggests an idea. Perhaps if they bake "courage cookies" grandma will feel better about the trip. Throughout this sweet story, kids can explore pages beyond the edges of the screen, find hidden suprises, solve puzzles and more!

This interactive storybook begins with an enchanting and engaging story. It is well-written and thoughtfully tailored to the interests of young children and their families. Filled with well-designed games and activities, this Read more …