Rounds: Parker Penguin by Nosy Crow Limited

The Rounds series from Nosy Crow is quite possibly my favorite of 2012, providing an exceptional learning experience for young children that is both engaging, enhanced in a developmentally-appropriate way and thoughtfully constructed to meet the learning needs of children, who are naturally curious about animals and their life-cycles. It contains 100s of facts about the animals in each title, presented in a child-friendly series of interactive speech-bubbles that let the animals talk to the reader in the first-person. It is enchanting simply to watch a child play with this app, delighting in each new discovery about their natural world.

In the first title, Franklin Frog, we meet a Read more …

Tacky the Penguin by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Tacky the Penguin was published in print in 1990. It is a beloved story about a penguin who is not quite like the others. Tacky is 'an odd bird' according to the story, because he dresses and acts differently than his companions. They are proper and formal, right down to their bow ties, but Tacky dresses in loud shirts (befitting his name), belly flops into the ocean and does all sorts of uncouth things. 

This non-conformism comes in handy, though, when a band of hunters comes to capture penguins to sell as pretty pets. Tacky convinces them that these aren't penguins at all, given that Tacky is so different from the animal that 'marches neatly in a row, dives gracefully and sings Read more …

Nothing Ever Happens at the South Pole by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

This app does not yet have a written review. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how we rated this app in 9 categories.

Are you interested in becoming a guest reviewer for Digital-Storytime? Contact us via the link at the bottom of this page for more information! We plan to add written guest reviews & re-posts from other reputable blogs & app review sites for book apps we rate on our 9-point scale - starting in fall of 2012!

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 …

Tacky and the Emperor by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

The emperor of all the penguins in the Nice Icy Land is coming to visit. After discovering a pile of unattended clothes (that belong to the Emperor), Tacky puts the fancy outfit on and is treated like a royal guest by his very own siblings. Tacky doesn't do anything to let the other penguins know it is just him under the fancy frocks, until the real emperor shows up. The Emperor is won over in the end by Tacky's humor, feeling like he just be a penguin for a day without the burden of the royal outfit.

This title has some nice elements that play on the story of the "Emperor's New Clothes" and, like other omBooks from Oceanhouse Media, this title is solidly made with simple swipe-style page Read more …

Tacky and the Winter Games by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

The winter games have come to the nice icy land ... and Tacky and his brood are competing against rivals from the Highlands, Lowlands and more. But will they win a medal? It seems at first that having an 'odd bird' on their team is working against them. In the end, Tacky's unconventional approach is a winning one, although not before several hilarious plot twists.

Like other omBooks from Oceanhouse Media, this title is solidly made with simple swipe-style page turning. It would benefit from the addition of a page guide, but is otherwise easily navigated by little fingers. The story, by Helen Lester, is beloved in print, published in 2005. The digital version is no exception, only Read more …

Tacky Goes to Camp by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

The first Tacky the Penguin book was published in print in 1990. This title, about the 'odd bird' going to camp, came out in print in 2009. After reading any one of the "Tacky" books, it isn't difficult to understand why this character would be popular decades later. Tacky always stands out from the other penguins for being a little bit different. But with siblings named Goodly, Lovely, Angel, Neatly and Perfect, this is a family in need of a little trouble-making.

Tacky's non-conformism comes in handy of course. This time a bear threatens to eat the birds one night and Tacky scares him away simply by stumbling around with his sleeping bag over his head. He may not be Perfect, but Read more …

Tacky’s Christmas by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

It's Christmas time in the nice icy land where Tacky and his fellow penguins celebrate the holiday season. They wrap presents, decorate their igloos and sing holiday songs. But Tacky gets stuck in an ice chimney, practicing to be Santa this year, along with lots of other holiday-themed shenanigans. When unexpected guests (the hunters) join the festivities, Tacky stands up to them. In the end the hunters join the penguins for a fishy feast in the spirit of Christmas goodwill. Solidly made OM Book from Oceanhouse Media.

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly reviewed for a special post in our blog for the winter holidays, 2011.

The Penguins of Madagascar: Read & Play by FrogDog Media

The Penguins of Madagascar is not really a book, but more like a whole suitcase of stories and activities to entertain your child for at least an hour, if not more.  There are actually two stories in this iPad app, "Happy King Julien Day" and "Gone in a Flash".  These stories were adapted from two episodes of a Nickelodeon television show created in 2010 and based on the same characters in the "Madagascar" movies. 

There is also a third book, with 5 pages of jokes, and when all three are taken together, it amounts to almost 200 pages (counting page turns manually).  On autoplay, the two stories lasted about 10 minutes a piece.  There is no interactivity within the Read more …

An Amazing Day At The Zoo by Imaginatronics LLC

This educational app is filled with over a dozen detailed, educational descriptions of zoo animals. In a window on each page, there is a video showing the animal in its natural environment. The videos play silently with a background of assorted animal noises. Each page is narrated by a little girl named Sarah who adds personal commentary to many of the stops throughout this 'zoo trip'. Videos can be seen in full screen mode with a quick two finger gesture, although the image is less clear in the larger view.

I found the narration nice enough, but it was a little too enthusiastic in a way that becomes grating on the listener over time. The book is educational though, and my son and I Read more …

Mabell's Zoo - Interactive Counting Book by Brenda Long

Mabel's Zoo is a simple but lovely storybook app that explores familiar animals found in a zoo for the very youngest readers. Simple text, lacking grammatical polish, accompanies each patchwork scene. "Elephant gives rides to the birds", "Monkeys swing from vinces and each other" and "Tangs bring sunshine to the ocean" are typical phrases found in this book app, explaining to young listeners the basics of wildlife. Within the app's 10 pages (no pageguide), children will find the sounds and sights of many zoo animals. This is an app that is fun to explore and share with a young child, especially when teaching about the natural world and animals.


This app has been thoroughly Read more …

Pico the Penguin - World Travel Adventures by Petita Demas by Petita Demas Ltd

Note: This is a Wordless Picture Book with limited narration. It is meant to be shared together with a young child.

Pico the Penguin is a simple, point-and-touch app for very young children, ages 2-5.  The object of the game is to lower Pico’s temperature in some very warm places, using imaginative ways to cool him down. It begins with a cute introduction, which is helpful the first time the app is opened.  Pico has the travel bug.  Your child joins him as he goes in search of new adventures, but he must be careful. Pico must stay cool, because after all, he’s a penguin. His journey starts when you choose a destination on the world map. 

At each Read more …