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App Review of the Week

Each week we publish a review of a new app people are — or should be — talking about.
We are always on the lookout for great kids’ apps and e-books to recommend to our readers. If you would like to submit an app or e-book for review consideration, please send an iOS promo code with all release information (developer, price, release date, supported devices, etc.) to kbircher (at) hbook.com. Please keep in mind that a submission does not guarantee review.

So Many Butts! app review

Having just co-written (with my Family Reading blog co-parent Kitty Flynn) the article “The Straight Poop on Potty Humor” for the May/June 2017 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: Humor, how could I pass up the So Many Butts! app? (Editora Caixote, January 2017; iOS and Android) I went in with some trepidation, expecting Everyone Poops–level […]

How to Make Electricity (Lite) app review

How to Make Electricity (Crayon Box, 2015; iOS only) invites you to experiment with various objects to explore how electricity works. The app offers four “labs” covering different electricity-related topics: “Battery,” “Hydroelectric Generator,” “Thermal Power Generator,” and “Solar Panel.” Battery is available for free in the “Lite” version; the full version with all four labs […]

Home Boov Pop! Puzzle Adventure app review

Home is the 3D animated film adaptation (DreamWorks Animation, March 2015; PG) of Adam Rex’s The True Meaning of Smekday. Shoshana and I went to see it in theaters and I loved it. I loved it very much. Home Boov Pop! Puzzle Adventure (DreamWorks Animation SKG/Behaviour Interactive, 2015; iOS and Android) is a movie tie-in […]

Teach Your Monster to Read app review

I’m officially smitten with the Usborne Foundation’s phonics and reading game Teach Your Monster to Read (Teach Monster Games Ltd., 2014; iOS, Android, and desktop). Designed in collaboration with leading academics at the U.K.’s University of Roehampton to cover the first two years of literacy learning, this app serves as a nice complement to any […]

How Many Saturdays? app review

What if we measured our lives in units other than hours, days, months, and years? Would life “feel shorter? Longer? More absurd? More precious?” The Exploratorium‘s app How Many Saturdays? (2015; iOS only) considers this idea by comparing the number of Saturdays in one’s lifespan to other, less common measurements of time. After a brief […]

Reflex app review

In addition to hearing the Duran Duran song in my head, I know Reflex (ExploreLearning, iPad app released 2014; iOS and desktop) as a program that my child’s teacher uses to supplement the class’s math curriculum…and with which my kid is obsessed. While it’s geared toward classroom use (and homeschooling), we play it happily on […]

Fiete Hide and Seek app review

Friendly sailor Fiete invites you to play a favorite childhood game in Fiete Hide and Seek (Ahoiii, April 2017; iOS only). Tap on rocks and plants in a range of landscapes to look for Fiete behind them. If you’re stumped, tap the dog icon at bottom right to whistle for a pup who will help […]

Shake the Tree app review

Minibombo/Fox & Sheep’s new app Shake the Tree (March 2017; iOS only) offers preschoolers a slight but very funny interactive wordless story. Swipe rapidly back and forth to shake a very springy tree trunk at the screen’s center. With enough shaking, an animal or grouping of animals will fall out of the foliage. These creatures […]

Radio Jones and His Robot Dad app review

Radio Jones and His Robot Dad (Nexus Productions, 2016; iOS only) is an animated graphic novel about a boy whose dad doesn’t have time to play soccer with him, or to do much at all besides sit in his dim office and look miserable. Radio takes matters into his own tech-savvy hands and creates the […]

Pili Pop: Español app review

In Pili Pop Labs‘ immersive language-learning apps, you play a cute alien creature who has just landed on Earth and needs to acquire human language — fast. I gave Pili Pop: Español (2015; iOS and Android) a try to brush up on my (rusty) Spanish. Vocabulary (numbers, clothing, animals, fruits, body parts, etc.) is presented […]