Stewie the Duck Learns to Swim by Stew Leonards

This lightly interactive story app is based on the 2002 print title by the same name. Vetted by water safety experts, Stewie the Duck Learns to Swim is a wonderful way to teach young children about water safety. Emphasizing the need to wear a life vest, have an adult watching you and ultimately to learn to swim, this title presents drowning-prevention in a fun way that children will enjoy.

The story can get wordy (and a bit dry) but it does a nice job emphasizing the important aspects of water safety in a way children will understand. It is also accompanied by lovely water-color illustrations that bring all the duck characters to life. Wonderful extra dialogue, slight animations Read more …

The Berenstain Bears: Safe and Sound! by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

There have been hundreds of Berenstain Bears stories published since the first one debuted 1962. Safe & Sound is one of HarperCollins square paperback series, published in 2009. 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 simplistic, has been a fast favorite of millions of young Read more …

Little Bird by AVG Technologies CZ, s.r.o.

This educational title is a must-download for little ones learning about Internet safety. Little Bird is on her way to wish her grandma a happy birthday over the computer. With the help of her parents, Little Bird has learned how to be safe while online so she shares her tips with several of her animal friends on her way home. Presented in a lightly interactive and animated storybook app, young children will not only enjoy this book, but will also learn a lesson that can serve them for a lifetime of digital exploration.

Topics include how to deal with pop-ups, requests for personal information, on-line bullies and spam websites, as well as the constant refrain, "tell your parents" or "ask Read more …

Street Sounds Book & Game by Roads Corporation

Street Sounds Book & Game is a delightful book app created by VicRoads in Victoria, Australia. This agency is the equivalent of the DMV (Dept. of Motor Vehicles) in the U.S. They commissioned this free storybook, designed by author Danny Katz with the whimsical artistry of Mitch Vane's illustrations, to support child safety practices. This title tells a simple story, poem-like and lyrical, about road safety in a fun and accessible way for young readers and their caregivers.

In this book, a little girl named Ella describes her walk to school entirely by the sounds that she and her dad encounter. From the slam of the front door to the sounds the cars make, she narrates her experience Read more …

Click Clack by Roads Corporation

Click Clack: Buckled in your booster seat is a delightful book app created by VicRoads in Victoria, Australia. This agency is the equivalent of the DMV (Dept. of Motor Vehicles) in the U.S. They commissioned this free storybook, designed by author Danny Katz with the whimsical artistry of Mitch Vane's illustrations, to support child safety practices. This title tells a simple story, poem-like and lyrical, about road safety in a fun and accessible way for young readers and their caregivers.

In this book, many children (and adults) are pictured buckling up and staying safe in the back seat of the car. After securing themselves in the vehicle, each child passenger is featured on several pages Read more …

Loris and the Runaway Ball by Pointed Stories

This unique little book takes on the topic of safety and gives children choices within the story that give it a "choose-your-own-adventure" quality. It is an educational title with a really appealing way of giving children control over how the story progresses. At the beginning of the story, Loris and her brother are playing catch, but when the ball rolls into the street, Loris needs to 'choose' someone to ask for help, either a neighbor, her brother or her dad. 

All three 'choices' change the story for three pages and then all three return the reader to the same point to finish the story. The three choices are all 'good' solutions to the problem of retrieving the lost ball across the Read more …

Sparky & The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms by CUPCAKE DIGITAL INC

Cupcake Digital has released Sparky & The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms starring Sparky the Dalmatian. He has been the official mascot for the National Fire Protection Association since 1951, and is used to promote fire safety awareness beginning with little ones through grade school.

The app offers tons of extras from a music video that reinforces what to do when you hear a fire alarm to additional supports for activities, games for kids, and a stellar parent’s section at sparky.org. A teacher’s resource page has also been created at sparkyschoolhouse.org and contains lesson plans aligned to common core standards in math and English Read more …

The Berenstain Bears Computer Trouble by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

There have been hundreds of Berenstain Bears stories published since the first one debuted 1962. Computer Trouble is one of HarperCollins square paperback series, first published in print in 2010. 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 simplistic, has been a fast Read more …

The Berenstain Bears Come Clean for School by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

There have been hundreds of Berenstain Bears stories published since the first one debuted 1962. Come Clean for School is one of HarperCollins square paperback series, first published in print in 2011. 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 simplistic, has been a fast favorite of Read more …

The Bugabees by FlyingWord, Inc.

Based on the 2009 print title by Amy Recob, this sweet storybook is now available as an app with interactive enhancements and games about each of the food allergies explored in the narrative. The story features common situations where children with food allergies might face difficulties, like attending a birthday party, trick-or-treating and eating in the school cafeteria. In each situation, the bug character models a great attitude by responding, "No thank you, It's really okay. I can still have lots of fun without [name of allergic food] anyway." Adorable children's voices narrate the bugs' voices, which highlight word-for-word

This story is told in nicely crafted rhyming verse, with Read more …

Just A Big Storm - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
Just a Big Storm by Mercer Mayer is one of the latest Little Critter titles, published in print in 2013. In this title, Little Critter and his family prepare for and then go through a big storm. 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 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 rather lovable one! Over 200 books have been released in this Read more …
Magnus the Magnetic Dog by Julian Damy

Magnus the Magnetic Dog is a beautifully illustrated and charming story from Julian Damy, created with Demibooks Composer. This app is billed as the first title in a series and called, "A New Friend". In this touching story, we meet Magnus the dog and learn about his fear of storms. His bravery inexplicably sets in motion a series of events that lead him to be struck by lightning. This lovable terrier isn't hurt, however, but his life is definitely about to change in a big way! Not only does he become 'magnetic' and attract unwanted metal objects of every kind, but he also manages to attract something more rare - a true friend.

With very light but polished animation and story-enhancing Read more …

Professor Garfield Forms of Media by Paws Incorporated

The Professor Garfield apps from Infinite Learning Lab, a popular non-profit foundation with a great website for kids content, is one of those free series that came out early in the launch of the iPad. I don't know how I managed to miss this exceptional set of titles. Recently, my 6 year old became a rather fluent reader and has been obsessed with the Garfield cartoon books from our local library.

So I decided to just search the app store for other "Garfield" content in the hopes of treating my 6-year old to something fun on Christmas morning. When I discovered the four-app series from Paws Inc. under the education category, and free, I was truly stunned. These four totally FREE apps Read more …

The Wee Adventures of Shabu Shabu - Book 1 - The Jade Legend by Steam Powered Productions Pte. Ltd.

The Wee Adventures of Shabu Shabu – Book 1 – The Jade Legend, by Steam Powered Productions, is a magnificent tome of a story app and the first in the series of eight books. Book 1 begins with a little Taiwanese rabbit who wants to follow her prestigious grandfather’s paw prints and be an inventor. The tinkering turns into many years, with the inspiration of getting to the moon to find the mysterious Jade Rabbit, similar to our version of the “Man in the Moon” concept. Shabu Shabu has always dreamed of joining her grandfather on his adventures, but instead spends her childhood cloistered in his lab because he is so overprotective of his granddaughter.

Read more …

Sock n Boots by DAMON SMITH

Sock n Boots is an app with a collection of three stories about basic skills young children need to learn, including sharing, playing safe and getting over a fear of the dark. While the stories themselves are quite simple with little enhancement, they do stand out for being educational. This title also features unique personalization settings and computer graphics that will appeal to children.

The interactive elements allow images to be tapped to hear the name and spelling of the object pictured. Some images also respond with additional information about the scene, like "the birds are sleeping" for an image of a sleeping bird in her nest. In addition, the app has nice highlighting to go Read more …

Mousey Howsee and the Rescuers by Realverus UAB

Mousey Housee is one of those book apps that has a lot of unique and innovative aspects. There are video segments tucked within the pages, interactive elements that tie nicely into the storyline and even variations in the book based on the time of day and weather. The app also includes an interactive page with a cell phone where the reader gets to dial the number for emergency rescue of Mousey Housee.

This app features very light animations triggered through tapping. These animations are cute, although not especially related to the storyline. They are also often 'highlighted' in a greyish box that seems unpolished based on my experience with other book apps. The variety of interactions Read more …