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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.

Trilo Spelling app review

In Trilo Spelling (Swedish/American developer Trilo, June 2016; iOS only), your goal is to spell your way to a story. As Spooka the ghost explains, correct answers in a variety of spelling games will earn you fuel for your plane. Then you can fly around the app’s island setting, gathering puzzle pieces which come together […]

Fiete Sports app review

With the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics beginning tomorrow, what better time to play the Fiete Sports app (Ahoiii, July 2016; iOS only)? Similar in structure to Ahoiii’s Fiete: A Day on the Farm app, Fiete Sports allows the affable sailor — with your help — to compete against his friends Hein and Hinnerk in Summer Olympics–style […]

Daily Wonder app review

Fans of R. J. Palacio’s 2012 book Wonder are probably familiar with the author’s #ChooseKind pledge and her 2014 book 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts. Now they can receive happiness-themed quotations each day with the Daily Wonder app (Random House, 2015; iOS only). The app is no-frills: tap “Daily Wonder” in the […]

Toca Tailor: Fairy Tales app review

Toca Tailor: Fairy Tales (Toca Boca, 2012; iOS only) is a fairy-tale-themed companion to the original Toca Tailor app, in which you can “make” clothes by tailoring size, choosing fabrics, and adding accoutrements. Click on one of the two child characters (a light-skinned girl and a darker-skinned boy), and your chosen figure is brought to […]

GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine app review

I first became aware of toy start-up GoldieBlox when I saw its smart commercial “The Princess Machine,” in which a group of young girls engineer a complex Rube Goldberg machine using (mostly) stereotypically “girl” toys. The mission of GoldieBlox and inventor/CEO Debbie Sterling is “to disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generation of […]

Sago Mini Forest Flyer app review

My colleagues and I are big Sago Mini fans, and we’re slowly working our way through the developer’s entire oeuvre. Next up, an oldie but a goodie: Forest Flyer (2013; iOS and Android), another exploratory play app in the mold of Ocean Swimmer and Fairy Tales. Choose a spring day or a wintry (vaguely Christmas-y) […]

Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap Jungle app review

A companion to Axel Scheffler’s flip book of the same name, Flip Flap Jungle (Nosy Crow, 2015; iOS only) allows you to create seemingly infinite animals by combining the top half of one and the bottom half of another. Want to see what a parakeet might look like with four furry legs? Swipe the bottom of […]

Toca Dance app review

So, you think you can dance? Bust a move with Toca Dance (March 2016; iOS only). Much like Siân’s fave Toca Band, this latest Toca Boca app is weird and wonderful, with an emphasis on creative, exploratory play. (I also love the quieter Toca Nature.) First choose your performers, then outfit them with costumes and […]

LumiKids Beach app review

Wanna go to the beach? Great — grab your iPad! Using the same approachable format as LumiKids Backyard and LumiKids Snow, LumiKids Beach (Lumos Labs, June 2015; iOS and Android) provides a side-scrolling scene of a beach with six activity “stations.” These include three instant-gratification, tap-to-play activities (matching a child or a friendly monster-child to […]

Doctor Who Comic Maker app review

As a fan of both Doctor Who and comics, how could I resist the siren song of that familiar theremin theme emanating from BBC’s official Doctor Who Comic Maker app (March 2016; iOS only)? Similar to HarperCollins/Night & Day Studio’s Big Nate: Comix by U!, this app lets you write your own adventures for the […]