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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.

Busy Shapes app review

Busy Shapes (Edoki Academy, 2014; iOS only) is an engaging sorting and problem-solving app based on the work of education expert Jean Piaget. The app begins with a simple matching exercise: drag a shape to the same-shaped hole and drop it in. These brightly colored shapes represent physical objects such as blocks, sponges, flowers, and […]

Me app review

Remember Dr. Seuss’s My Book About Me? Me by Tinybop (November 2016; iOS only) is a lot like that. You start by creating an avatar for yourself, choosing from a number of options for the shapes and hues of your face, your eyes, etc. There are enough options that I found myself looking in a […]

Little Kitten app review

I admit, I am a total sucker for all things cat-related. But Fox & Sheep’s new app Little Kitten (Fox & Sheep in partnership with Squeakosaurus, January 2017; iOS only) has a lot going for it besides the cute-kitty factor. A brief (and optional) wordless video introduces our hero, a gray tabby kitten left on […]

Fallen London app review

“Thirty years ago, London was stolen by bats. Now, Hell is close and immortality is cheap, but the screaming has largely stopped…” In Fallen London (Failbetter Games, 2015; iOS and Android), I — a shadowy being of unspecified gender, just escaped from prison — stalk the streets of a Hell-adjacent Victorian London with an Alluring Companion for a cohort […]

Planet Lettra app review

Upon opening, Planet Lettra (Studio Goojaji, 2015; iOS only) offers the option of taking a young user–friendly tour. I recommend starting there — the app looks simple, but there are a number of quirks that would’ve taken me a while to figure out without the help. As the tour explains (in rhyme), Planet Lettra has […]

Sir David Attenborough’s Story of Life app review

Released in honor of his ninetieth birthday, Sir David Attenborough’s Story of Life (BBC Worldwide, November 2016; iOS and Android) spans his six-decade career as a naturalist and and the voice of the BBC’s wildlife programming. The app — which is, incredibly, free — contains over one thousand video clips from more than forty BBC […]

Roald Dahl’s Twit or Miss app review

When you open Roald Dahl’s Twit or Miss (Penguin, 2015; iOS and Android), a British-accented voice welcomes you to “the ghastly world of The Twits.” Then you’re ushered through an overgrown yard and into the Twits’ dining room, with art inspired by Quentin Blake’s classic illustrations. The app consists of a single game with a […]

Fiete KinderZoo app review

“We invited 30 kids…to design an app…in 1 hour!” begins Fiete KinderZoo (Ahoiii, October 2016; iOS and Android). A photo slideshow on a series of brightly colored backgrounds portrays kids cutting and pasting collage elements, recording sound, and just generally having a blast hanging out at the Ahoiii studio. Upbeat string-and-xylophone music accompanies the photos. […]

Win the White House app review

If you’ve gotten anywhere near the news in the past, oh, fifteen months, you know one thing: running for president is complicated. It requires careful planning and strategic skill. Ever wondered if you’ve got what it takes? Find out with Win the White House (iCivics, 2011 with update July 2016; iOS,  Android, and web). First, […]

Shadow House app review

Set in Larkspur House, a home for abandoned and wayward children, Shadow House (Scholastic, August 2016; iOS and Android) is the app component of Dan Poblocki’s new multi-platform middle-grade horror series of the same name. The app allows users to interact with the series’ fictional world by choosing their own pathways through twelve different “Incidents.” […]