Pete and the secret of flying HD by Shape Minds and Moving Images GmbH

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Planes - Byron Barton by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Published in print in the late 1980's, the delightful simplicity of Byron Barton's illustrations have now arrived in digital. This first app covers all the important aspects of flying, from the types of planes to the steps it takes to take off, land and disembark a jet's passengers. Presented in bold colors with simple lines, these charming illustrations will win over any toddler, especially those fond of transportation books.

This title is lightly animated and interactive, allowing the curious child to drag items around the sky view, tap to hear words or tap to name objects in the scene. Settings include nice volume controls, a home button, pageguide and even recordable narration options. Read more …

A Frog Thing by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Based on the very popular 2006 print title by Eric Drachman, A Frog Thing is the kind of storybook that makes for an instant classic. It's about a frog named Frank who wants to fly, despite being told that flying isn't a 'frog thing'. Eventually Frank gets his wish in a creative way that is both satisfying and surprising.

Earlier this week, my Kindergartner came home with the print version of A Frog Thing, having chosen it himself on library day at school. We were both excited to find this app released just a day later for our iPad! It's a perfect digital translation, too, featuring the great narration originally included on an audio CD that accompanied the print title.

Ultimately, this app 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 …

Bats! Furry Fliers of the Night by Story Worldwide LLC

The vision for the touch tablet and education is beautifully realized in this non-fiction app about a fascinating mammal that has been a source of human fear and fantasy for generations. Aimed at older elementary school aged children, this app about bats is accessible to pre-readers too, with great narration and easy navigation hints.

Older readers, including adults will be enchanted with the stunning visual and sound effects and may even learn a thing or two along the way. Young learners will expand their knowledge about the only mammals to fly, different species of bats and their various community habitats. There is even a great section on how a bat's skeleton compares to a human's, Read more …

Gertrude McFuzz - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

A little bird named Gertrude longs for a more glorious tail in this digital edition of a classic Dr. Seuss book, from Oceanhouse Media. The original print title, Yertle the Turtle and other stories contained three tales and was published in 1958. This tale is essentially about jealousy, overindulgence and how we should be happy with what we have because it is "enough".

Unhappy with her single feather, Gertrude seeks assistance in the form of a 'pill-berry' vine. But she isn't satisfied with just a few pretty tail-feathers ... she now wants to be better than the other bird she envies. She goes on a binge, eating so many 'pill berries' that she grows a tail so large she cannot fly Read more …

The Lettermen go in a plane by Stefan Nowak

This fun digital storybook under the category "Education" is interactive in a way that not only makes reading fun, but reinforces spelling, reading and sight words. The 'lettermen' themselves are simple but engaging cartoon letters with hands and feet. They are very appealing to kids and have great expressions that match the words they are forming on each page.

This tale has the 'lettermen' going in a plane. The narration, a British English speaker, is crisp and clear. The Lettermen was a series of books created in the late 1980's by Roger Knights. This book was published in print in 1993. According to the information page in the book, "It was never intended to be an educational system or Read more …

Rowdy Raccoon and the Turtle Who Wanted to Fly is an interactive story book for kids that brings to by Auryn, Inc

Rowdy Raccoon and the Turtle Who Wanted to Fly is based on the book of the same name by Donna C. Braymer and illustrated By Shachi Kale. It was published in print in 2009. It is beautifully illustrated and the interactive features are incredible. 

The narration options in this app are excellent. The ability to write your own text for the story particularly appealed to me. It is not one I have personally used before. The voice over capabilities we see from time to time, but the added feature of changing the text on each individual page as well is a huge bonus. It allows the parent or caregiver to adapt the storyline to suit the language capabilities of each user. However if you Read more …

The Wrong Side of the Bed by See Here Studios

The Wrong Side of the Bed is a wonderful, original and beautifully illustrated ebook that is delightful in both 2D & 3D. The book is about a little boy who wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. And I mean the REALLY wrong side of the bed as in under the bed, and then he walks on the ceiling. The book continues in this manner with Mott riding on the ceiling of the school bus and then flying into space before returning to earth at the end of the day. It ends with the little boy being very careful to get up on the right side of the bed the next morning.

When this book recently made our top 10 bedtime book list, I re-read it with my son and we discovered that the developer had added 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 …

Around the World with Lilup by Mythos Machine LLC

Lilup is a dog that is so fluffy he just floats away one day. On his journey, he visits many parts of the world by flying over and then gently landing to visit the wild animals below. Then he returns home to rest & dream of his adventures. He soars in the sky with birds, glides over ice, plays with several animals, splashes in the water and even joins in on a hunt.

Many of these adventures offer the reader the chance to interact with Lilup or the other animals by tapping or tilting the device. The scene with the penguins sliding on the ice and then 'huddling' together were my little boy's favorites, always making him giggle. None of these interactions are especially animated, but Read more …

Quigley the Caterpillar by Nation9, Inc.

Quigley the Caterpillar is an ebook whose appeal lies in its winning story rather than flashy animations, sound effects or games. Author Erin Turnley's story and Pamela Goodman's illustrations are beautifully brought to life as an app by Nation9, an artist's collective. It's a simple story with a positive message which parents will enjoy sharing with their children.

The star of the story is of course Quigley, a nice green caterpillar with 100 legs. He does what caterpillars mostly do - eat leaves. One day Quigley encounters a butterfly and is bewitched by her beauty and grace. Apparently no one had "the talk" with Quigley as he has no idea what changes await him. 

Unable to let go of Read more …

I Am An Astronaut by Tizio BV

From Tizio Publishing, this personalizable title allows you to take a picture of your child (or use a photo) to show them as an astronaut inside the book's pages. It is short but sweet, featuring light interactivity and animation. Among the fun things to tap on this title's eleven pages is a cool 'control panel' for a rocket ship. It could even be the digital replacement for that old-school toy, the toddler 'busy box' (a toy with lots of buttons & levers).

Seeing your child's picture in several scenes (or their name, which appears on a flag), is really fun; kids reading or listening will be especially engaged as they anticipate seeing themselves in each scene. You can enter a child's Read more …

Little Bella's - I Close My Eyes by Out Fit 7 Ltd.

Little Bella is a relatively short, animated book released for the iPhone/iPod only.   This book is often a favorite "last book" at bedtime in our house, since the ending has little Bella falling into bed & going to sleep herself.  We usually avoid overly animated or interactive books before bed, since they can be too stimulating, but the overall effect of the music & dreamy animation is relaxing enough even for nighttime.

Each page has little Bella stating in her cute Australian accent, "I close my eyes and I am ..." followed by 12 different imaginative statements, ranging from climbing the tallest tree to becoming a dolphin diving in the ocean.  My son was Read more …

Beau Crow – The Greedy Crow by Jason Harris

This lightly animated and interactive book by Jason Harris features great illustrations and a fun, rhyming story about a crow that cannot stop eating. He misses his flock as they are flying south, growing larger and larger in size until he can scarcely move. When a hungry fox happens upon him, the greedy crow tries to change his ways ... but will it be in time?

This short, but engaging story includes some hidden settings, like a page guide & home button (double tap to reveal them); even narration is hard to figure out at first, but you simply tap on each section to hear it read. The app also includes a way to record your own narration, a nice addition. The voice-over included is lovely, Read more …

Michael Garland's Icarus Swinebuckle Interactive Picture Book by Paul Scaturro

Michael Garland's Icarus Swinebuckle is a richly illustrated story with fun interactivity and several nicely animated scenes. It's the story of a pig who is a cobbler. He is obsessed with flying and when his flying contraption turns out to work, everyone in town is impressed. But like his name-sake, this Icarus also flies too close to the sun, causing his wings to come apart. This title is based on a print book, published in 2000.

There are some great animated scenes in this app, in the form of short videos interspersed with interactive pages. These videos are not present in 'read myself' mode, which makes it the preferred setting for more traditional bedtime reading. The interactivity Read more …

Theo and the Letter Eater by codemachine.it

Theo and the Letter Eater brings retro-space charm to a story about a strange creature that eats letters to learn to read. The star of the book is Theo, a little guy in a diving/flying costume that looks like a space suit from a 1950's sci-fi movie. When Theo gets an S.O.S. from the mayor, the little superhero must solve the mystery of the 'letter valley'. Letters seem to be disappearing from the vocabulary, making it difficult for people to talk properly.

So Theo sets out, diving in the ocean and then flying around the land to find the problem. He spots a strange creature taking bites out of the alphabet in the famed 'letter valley'. It turns out the creature, Briccolino, wants to learn to Read more …

Lazy Bird by Tatyana Mironova

Featuring charming illustrations and a fun storyline, Lazy Bird is a book app that young readers, ages 5-8, will enjoy. It is longer than the average picture book but shorter than a chapter book, filling a unique space in between, for young readers bridging to longer text. The overall length does seem excessive at times, however, indicating a need for additional editing and polishing for this otherwise lovely indie publication.

The story is about a young bird named Frank who overpacks for his flock's trip to Hawaii. There are a lot more details to the plot, but this is the basic story arc, which involves Frank taking many shortcuts out of laziness. He has someone else pack his suitcase and Read more …

Flying Poodles - A Christmas Story by PoodleDog Productions

One Christmas Eve the reindeer are in a dire situation ... all the usual helpers for Santa's sleigh are sick! Soon several poodles decide to step in and take over to help Santa deliver all the holiday gifts. A unique and original tale for the holidays. A small extra called "meet the poodles" is included, but other than that this title is not interactive. The story itself is cute, with nicely narrated rhyming text and background sounds & music. Page layout is heavy on text that is in a stylized font that is rather small. No highlighting with narration or other enhancements, but otherwise this is a lovely little storybook app.

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly reviewed Read more …

The Flying Worm - A Children's Book so Fun You'll Never Stop Wiggling by Byrne Publishing

This book about Wormtown, where the the worms live and play in a cool underground city, is a truly cute story buried in some very odd programming. It is fanciful enough that my son begged me to buy it and loves to read it and play the worm hide-n-seek game (despite it never having different worm hiding places). Yet we don't actually read it very often because it comes with a very odd audio/video track in place of real narration, lasting just over 5 1/2 minutes.

It's delightful in every way ... except for one important feature, THE SOUND. It is absolutely awful, some sort of poorly recorded music that sounds terribly distorted like someone is playing a bad electric organ - I can't even tell Read more …

Turtle Crossing - An Animated, Interactive Storybook App by Adam Winsor

Turtle Crossing by Adam Winsor is one of those enchanting picture books you'll want to read and re-read - a true classic-in-the-making. It's charming and well-executed as a digital book, with light animation and interactivity that doesn't distract from the delightful storyline. In this title we meet Atlas, a hapless little turtle who longs to cross a busy motorway to get to the lake on the other side. On his journey he meets a duck with her ducklings and an old turtle who shares his wisdom.

Ample settings include read-to-me or read-to-myself, although no option is available for highlighting. Animations, interactivity and sound effects are at times a bit clunky but ultimately create a nearly Read more …

Fiona & the Fog by William Poor

Set in San Francisco, this gorgeous storybook about a bored little girl exploring a foggy day is truly exceptional. It begins with Fiona wishing "something exciting would happen" and ends in a deeply satisfying way, after traveling the city following her wind-driven scarf. The landscape is vast and exceptional with mood-setting, meditative music that relaxes young and old readers alike. The digital settings are sparse but provide just enough to navigate this beautiful book. A perfect bedtime story awaits readers of this delightful storybook app!

Highly Recommended!

This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in Read more …

Alphabet of Insects by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Alphabet of Insects from the Oceanhouse Media's Smithsonian Collection - is a beautifully illustrated alphabet book about bugs, the natural world and science. The print version of this title was released in 2007 along with an audio CD and poster. As a book app, this title sparkles, giving enormous value over its print counterpart, including narrated text that highlights as read. This book series fills a great need for digital book apps with non-fiction educational content. The books selected so far have been well vetted as print titles, making it easy as parents & educators to select these digital books with confidence.

Each title in this series takes the Read more …

Mum's Cronky Car by Digital Leaf Ltd.

Mum's Cronky Car from UK developer Digital Leaf is a humorous digital book for ages 4+ which features the lamenting of a young girl who is embarrassed to have to go everywhere in the family's old broken-down car. The book is yet another title from Anita Pouroulus and it's illustrated by Jon Lycett-Smith. It's similar in style to her other works, Pancake Pandemonium and Oh, What a Tangle but lacks some of the whimsy of those efforts.

With its bumper bar held on with a bit of rope, a bent antennae and mismatching colours, the Cronky car is visually not up to scratch. It also refuses to start without a mighty push and tends to leave bits behind it as it 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 …

Myro Arrives in Australia - Animated storybook 1 by NickRose Ltd

Myro Arrives in Australia by NickRose Ltd is a lovely storybook book app for your kids. Meet Myro, the the Smallest Plane in the World, in his new home in Australia and follow him on his first flying adventure in the endless skies of the Australian Bush!

Fun Educational Apps Short Review

Myro Arrivs in Australia is the first book in the series of six adventures about Myro, the smallest plane in the world. It is a well designed storybook app that will delight your little ones. The app offers 32 pages with animations and interactive features and various reading modes - Read to me with top narration by Christopher Biggins and other great actors; read myself or if you prefer, record Read more …

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