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

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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

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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

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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 […]

The Sick Kitten app review

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Polish publisher Festina Lente and digital developer Kartalia have collaborated on a lively animated picture book app of 1824 short story “Chory Kotek” — The Sick Kitten (May 2013) — by Stanisław Jachowicz. Jachowicz, who wrote original fairy tales, published a children’s newsletter, and wrote a children’s songbook, is considered the father of children’s literature […]

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving app review

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Loud Crow Interactive adds to its line-up of Peanuts holiday apps with the 40th-anniversary release of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (November 2013), based on the classic 1973 animated TV special. Charlie Brown and his sister Sally plan to spend Thanksgiving at their grandmother’s house — but then Peppermint Patty invites herself, Marcie, and Franklin over […]

Bluebeard app review

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BumpBump Books’s app Bluebeard, a French Folk Tale (January 2013) retells the fairy tale in clear, concise text. A young woman, despite some misgivings, marries a wealthy man with a blue beard. Bluebeard gives his new bride all the keys to his home, but tells her she must not enter a particular room. When Bluebeard […]

Spatter & Spark app review

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Spatter & Spark (Polk Street Press, February 2013), a picture book app written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Luciana Navarro Powell, celebrates friendship and creativity. Artist Spatter (a porcupine) wants to paint a portrait of baby crow Hubert but runs into a small problem: since the fledgling is too young to leave the nest, […]

Meet Millie app review

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Children’s storybook apps have all begun to look alike, but MegaPops‘s interactive reading experience Meet Millie (2011) stands alone as the pick of the litter. This first book in the Millie Was Here series chronicles the adventures of a seemingly mild-mannered lap dog — who also just happens to be a hero. The intentionally cliché […]