The New Kid on the Block app review

new kid on the block cover

National Poetry Month is upon us, and this week’s app review comes from renowned children’s poet Jack Prelutsky. The New Kid on the Block (Wanderful Interactive Storybooks, 2013), an interactive poetry app based on Prelutsky’s book of the same name (HarperCollins, 1984), features eighteen poems, a cast of strangely delightful characters, and exuberant animations. From […]

Reading Rainbow app review

reading rainbow friends and family

The Emmy and Peabody–award winning Reading Rainbow, hosted by LeVar Burton, ran for twenty-three years on PBS. Now young readers can explore the Reading Rainbow app (RRKidz, 2012), which retains a similar style to the show complete with its signature, catchy theme song: “Take a look, / it’s in a book, / a reading rainbow…” […]

Dinosaurs app review

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Many kids visit natural history museums for school field trips or just for fun. Around here it’s the Harvard Natural History Museum (home of the stunning glass flowers room and free to Massachusetts residents on Sunday mornings). Chicago has the Field Museum. And in the NY/NJ/CT tri-state area kids flock to the American Museum of […]

Lazoo Zoo! app review

lazoo zoo menu

It’s always time to feed the animals at Lazoo Zoo! (2013). Move from habitat to habitat dishing out all sorts of delicious foods — from reasonable fare such as bananas and grapes to more ridiculous entrees such as burgers, birthday cake, and even a saxophone — to a motley crew of eleven animal residents. The […]

Roxie’s Doors app review

roxie's doors castle

“Lift the flaps and step through doors into wonderful worlds that you can explore. Open the door to a fantasy — imagination is your key!” Welcome to Roxie’s Doors (OCG Studios and Roxie Munro, 2011), an interactive lift-the-flap search-and-find app based on author/illustrator Roxie Munro’s 2004 picture book Doors. The rhyming text (with optional narration […]

LEGO DUPLO Zoo app review

lego duplo cinema

The LEGO Group’s LEGO DUPLO Zoo app (2012) opens with a prompt for users to choose from “watch” and “play” options. In “play” mode, Giraffe and Bunny receive an airmail package addressed to Lion during their rousing game of badminton. The friends devise a plan to deliver the package to its rightful owner. They head […]

Jack and the Beanstalk app review

jack and the beanstalk dinner

The latest in Nosy Crow’s fairy-tale app series, Jack and the Beanstalk (January 2013), features all of the developer’s thoughtful design hallmarks (main text and speech bubbles narrated by child actors; intuitive, no-reading-required navigation; a wide repertoire of possible interactive responses; subtle verbal and visual interactivity prompts), but this is perhaps the most activity-driven and […]

Wee Alphas: Find Your Special Letter app review

wee alphas menu

Developer Wee Society’s alphabet app Wee Alphas: Find Your Special Letter (2012) is “designed to encourage positive interactions between preschoolers and grown-ups” in addition to supporting pre-literacy skills. Each letter of the alphabet is represented by an animal whose species and name correspond to that letter, e.g., Eli the elephant, Sidney the squirrel. The menagerie […]

Recommended apps and e-books

endless alphabet menu

The apps and e-books recommended below were developed within the last few years. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion. Click on the title links for full reviews of individual apps, or view all of our App Review of the Week selections here. Preschool Suggested age level for each entry: […]

Scruffy Kitty app review

scruffy kitty page

Scruffy Kitty (Winged Chariot, 2010), a charming interactive e-book aimed at toddlers and preschoolers, tells the simple story of an alley cat’s typical day on the street — from mouse-chasing to garbage-eating to singing out of tune. But when bedtime approaches, Scruffy Kitty finds himself outside a cozy house looking in. The slight text leaves […]