With the Easter holidays looming, many of us are planning a little getaway, so now’s a great time to stock up the iPad to help entertain the kids during travel and downtime. Rather than fill up your cases with heaps of the kids favorite books, try out some great book apps to help lighten the luggage load. The iPad lends itself wonderfully to the reading of an ‘eBook’ – a digital interpretation of a traditional book. Indeed book apps are an excellent way to engage less motivated readers and to develop early literacy skills. So you’d think all the enhancements that book apps can bring to a digital story would deepen the engagement of readers and generate enthusiasm for all things bookish, yes? Or do the facts agree? Continue reading “What makes a good Book App? Reviews plus Giveaway”
We love books and book apps are a whole new fantastic way of enthusing young readers. The ones featured here are our pick of the bunch, those that have been heavily used and hugely popular in our house. Some have wow factor, some are sweet, all are brilliant! The list is in order of suitable age range: youngest to oldest.
Interactive Alphabet (age 1+)
It’s chilled, it’s sweet and has just enough interactivity to keep their interest. Take a leisurely stroll through the alphabet and touch any of the pictures to interact. A for apple is one of Cool A’s favourites, touch it and the apple slowly gets eaten, cracks him up!
Red in Bed (age 1+)
Very sweet introduction to colours for our youngest readers. Poor red is sick in bed and can’t go out to colour, so the other colours fill in for him, but get a few things wrong. Simple, bold drawings and basic interaction with quick responses make this a winner for little hands. Cool A totally adores this app, he thinks red’s ‘sick’ voice is hysterical. He also enjoys waking the little colour bubbles up when in bed and sending them to sleep at the end. Plus look out for the bonus secret colour bubble who likes to hang out with Indigo and Violet.
The Monster at the End of this Book (age 2+)
This was one of our early favourites, based on a classic Sesame Street book of the same name. The story is funny, no annoying music and Grover is adorable. He’s scared there’s a monster at the end of the book and will do anything to stop you turning those pages! Which of course makes nothing more enticing… Wonderfully done and such a success that it spawned a second book app, Another Monster at the End of this Book, starring Elmo. Also worth getting. I just love Sesame Street apps.
The Three Little Pigs (age 3+)
This app was made by Nosy Crow and if you love a good book app, get to know that name. Really I could have chosen any of their lovely fairytale books. There are loads of interactive surprises and some cunning use of the iPad format, such as blowing in the microphone to help the wolf blow the houses down, or tilting the screen to find hidden characters. The stories are read in children’s voices which kids always love to hear. Also available are Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk.
Bartleby’s Book of Buttons Vol 2 (age 3/4+)
Bartleby has already rated a mention on this blog as one of L Star’s favourite all time apps. Both my boys are button fanatics and wo betide anyone who tries to operate the microwave or dial a phone number by themselves! Noooo! Button armageddon will be visited upon you. Well thankfully Bartleby saves the day, a whole story with various buttons to operate (although never enough for my two), puzzles to solve and a curious enough story to get them interested. Sadly it’s a To be Continued… which is very frustrating, but that hasn’t stopped this being super popular in our house. The mystery is, where did Bartleby Vol 1 go? No word from the developers.
Millie’s Crazy Dinosaur Adventure: Book 3 (age 4+)
We have enjoyed Milly’s third adventure just as much as it’s two predecessors. It’s a fun tale with heaps of switches, levers and buttons (yay!) to activate to progress the story. Millie forgets a birthday present for her friend so invents a time machine to go back in time to get herself out of trouble. Except the dial is set a little too far back in time. The ‘Story Switch’ feature enables you to choose the path the story takes and there are secret stickers hidden on each page which encourage investigation and experimentation. L Star loves this book and when I asked him why (hoping for some useful insight to use in this review) he gleefully told me it’s because he likes it when Millie almost gets eaten by a dinosaur and he wishes she would. OK! Maybe the developers could take that on board and Millie could get eaten in her next adventure? Yeah, he is 4. Whether he roots for the heroine or not, he still has a great time with Millie and her adventures.
Dinoboy (age 4+)
We love this one for it’s imaginative whimsy and the lovely hand illustrated pictures. It’s also one of the few multiple choice books we’ve come across, so the kids can decide what happens next and experience a different story on each reading. There’s something to do on each page before the story can progress and L Star returns to this one again and again.
Rom and the Whale of Dreams (age 6+)
A truly beautiful book, more in the style of a traditional picture book with exquisite illustrations and simple animation. We love a story about imagination and curiosity and this one does not disappoint: “In a land where no one dreams, Rom – a gypsy prince – dreams of a strange creature: a whale with lion’s paws and butterfly wings. Convinced that the animal exists, Rom travels to strange lands in search of it…” Aimed at older kids 6-8, but this has been a lovely reading experience for L Star (4) and I.
In one of my next posts I’m going to review some truly spectacular books incorporating Augmented Reality. What is that? Well it brings a whole amazing 3D aspect to your story time. But don’t worry if you don’t have a clue how it works, I’ll be going through a quick run down of exactly what it is and how to make it work on your iPad. Suffice to say it’s purty fricken cool…
What are the favourite books apps at your place?
Is your kid obsessed with buttons? Mine are. To the extent that my youngest thinks my moles are buttons and likes to press those too. Thank goodness for Bartleby, finally, my moles are safe. A wonderfully interactive book app with heaps of great puzzles to solve before the story can progress. Each page boasts a number of buttons and switches to press and a bit of thinking is required to work out what to do.
Sadly it’s ‘To Be Continued…’ at the end so we’re hanging for the next part of the story, but L Star LOVES this app and has played it multiple times, despite the lack of a conclusion.
It’s won a swag of awards, including: Apple 2011 Best App: #1 Book App iPhone, #3 Book App iPad, Children’s Technology Award.
For all fans of books, button and puzzles.