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 …

Loose Strands: Unlockable Edition by Darned Sock Productions Inc

Loose Strands, by DarnedSocks Productions, is a choose-your-own-adventure style story app with dozens of different possible adventures. This imaginative tale is about a boy who is trapped in world where he can never go outside and everything (and I do mean everything) is made of hair from the family's barber shop. Tween readers can be picky about what they want to read and difficult to motivate, so you can try out this app for free (for iPad), with a sample chapter. The rest of the book can be unlocked to the full storybook by an in-app purchase, which is very worthwhile for a title that has nearly 2000 pages. The full storybook app is also available separately as a paid app for iOS, Kindle Read more …

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by Moonbot Studios LA, LLC

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore was a short animated film released to critical acclaim in 2010. The gorgeous film comes to life in this digital book app in a way that might even top the film's reception. It's just that amazing, giving the reader an immersive experience that makes other book apps with 'Wow' factor pale by comparison. Developers should be warned that the team at Moonbot Studios has just raised the bar.

The story follows the adventures of Mr. Morris Lessmore, a rather sad little fellow who experiences great tragedy before re-discovering the magical world of books. Every page of his adventure is imminently touchable, even the storm that carries his grayscale Read more …

Gone Wishing - Interactive Storybook by FI Produkcija D.O.O.

This is an exceptional new book app featuring an original story about a company, called Best Wishes, that lies below our world, taking the discarded wishing-well coins, birthday candles (and other 'wishing' objects like wishbones) to make the dreams attached to each object come true. These pleas are answered in an alternate universe where mythical characters (like fairies & genies) use potions and incantations to work magic - filling wishes for toys, ponies and even cotton candy.

The starring character, Jacob, is a little genie with a big problem. Unlike all the other employees of Best Wishes, Jacob can't seem to grant a single wish. Special effects and polished animation make Read more …

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories is a wonderful collection of seven stories originally published for RedBook in 1950-1951. They are exceptional and will enchant both young readers and older ones alike. How exciting to experience a whole new series of Seuss stories, simultaneously available in both print and digital!

These rare stories were discovered by Seuss scholar Charles D. Cohen and have been referred to as 'the literary equivalent of buried treasure'. They also have an expanded palette of colors that goes beyond what was originally available when the magazine editions were printed. These stories capture some of the earliest themes that would continue to run Read more …

Big Nate: Comix By U! HD by Night & Day Studios, Inc.

From Night & Day Studios comes a truly exceptional app for creativity. Fans of Lincoln Pierce's "Big Nate" series will not be disappointed by this full-featured comic book creation app. My seven-year old is a recent fan of these stories, about a 6th grade boy and his friends. Familiar scenes from school and home draw young readers into this fun series, ideal for upper elementary school and early middle school readers, especially boys.

Parents should know that this app does not include a lot of reading content, but is instead intended to inspire your young storytellers to create their own simple narratives in comic-book fashion. The app has a half dozen examples of the Big Nate comic Read more …

Leo the Lightning Bug by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

This is a charming story about a little lightning bug who is having a hard time finding his light. He is very frustrated, like any child wanting to do something grown up. His mother encourages Leo to be patient and feel good about himself, but he still struggles. No matter what he does, he just can't seem to light up. But despite teasing & feeling discouraged, the little bug keeps practicing, becoming triumphant one night during a thunder storm. In the end Leo discovers he has a bright, beautiful light (and that he is very brave).

This book was published in print in 2001 and has over a dozen 5 star reviews on Amazon.com that glow about the heart-warming story by Eric Drachman. It is Read more …

When I Get Bigger - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

When I Get Bigger by Mercer Mayer was published in print in 1985. It is a beloved story about Little Critter and was even released as a mini-hardback book. In this title we hear about all the amazing things Little Critter imagines being able to do when he gets bigger, like have a paper route, stay up late ... and go to first grade. An adorable story that children (eager to grow up) and parents (eager to keep little ones little) will enjoy together, over and over.

Many readers have asked, "What kind of animal is Little Critter?" According to Wikipedia, Mercer Mayer did not specify which type of animal Little Critter is, but "he resembles Read more …

Sneaky Sam by Sneaky Sam Productions Pty Ltd
This is an exceptionally well produced and polished app about a little boy named Sam who is 'sneaky'. Light animation and delightful sound effects, plus interactivity that elicits giggles & smiles from readers of all ages, make this an experience that is nearly perfect in digital. Created by new developer, Sneaky Sam Productions, this is an app that is sure to amuse kids aged six and up.
 
The story centers on Sam, a little boy about age 4-6+, as he plays pranks and does 'mischievous' things that make him laugh but other people, including his friends and family, look sad. He scares one friend and gets another in trouble with the teacher, he then sprays the famiy pet with water Read more …
Gerry the Giraffe HD by Take 2 Ventures LLC

Gerry the Giraffe HD is a delightful story about Gerry and his quest to improve his volleyball skills written by Melissa Northway of Polka Dots Publishing and published by PicPocket Books. This beautifully illustrated book is set in Africa where giraffes love to play volleyball. Gerry is left behind when his friends on the “Super Sonics” team go off to volleyball camp. Gerry is sad that he is not invited to volleyball camp because he is small and they believe he is unable to play. His mother gives the sage advice that he will grow up and perhaps he should try to improve his skills over the summer. Gerry thinks about it and decides that his Dad’s advice of Read more …

The Berenstain Bears and the Tooth Fairy by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

There have been hundreds of Berenstain Bears stories published since the first one debuted 1962. Tooth Fairy is one of HarperCollins square paperback series, published in 2012. 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 …