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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.

Sesame Street app review

Can you tell me how to get to…tons of wonderful educational videos and games for preschoolers? Just like the neighborhood itself, the Sesame Street companion app (Sesame Workshop, 2014; iOS and Android) is the place to be: a free account gives a child access to a large selection of games as well as new and […]

Explore Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood app review

When I was a Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood–watching kid, we almost never got to see the insides of the buildings in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. I burned with curiosity about this. What was inside the castle? Or X the Owl’s tree? I may never know the answers to these questions, but today’s preschoolers can wander around […]

Martha Speaks Word Spinner app review

Based on Susan Meddaugh’s picture book series about a loquacious canine, PBS Kids’s long-running television series Martha Speaks aims to bolster children’s oral vocabulary. The Martha Speaks Word Spinner (PBS Kids/WGBH, 2013; iOS and Android) app, a “family-style party game — but with a distinctly Martha twist,” entertainingly reinforces that goal. One to four players […]

Toca Life: Hospital app review

Toca Boca apps are well-loved in the Horn Book offices, and Toca Life: Hospital (Toca Boca, April 2017; iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire) is no exception. As the app opens, you are presented with a multi-level hospital on a busy street with mountains, a river, and several swaying trees in the background. To begin exploring, […]

Jump Numbers app review

In Artgig’s Jump Numbers (2016; iOS only), you play a badger-like creature tasked with getting “Snortles” to safety after the destruction of their home. The eight levels in each of six different regions (Summer Sea, Fungal Gulf, Arctic Expanse, Boulder Bay, Darkshade, Lava Lake) are set up with basically the same format: you, the badger, […]

Measure Up! app review

Measure Up! by PBS Kids (2016; iOS and Android) introduces concepts of measurement in a series of activities and videos based on its educational television shows. In a frame narrative, programming “hosts” Dot, Del, and Dee explore an island. Each of three locations on the island highlights a specific type of dimension measurement: “Treetop City” […]

Total Solar Eclipse app review

The Exploratorium’s Total Solar Eclipse app (may 2017 ; iOS and Android) will be at its coolest on August 21. That’s when a total solar eclipse will take place over the U.S., and the app will make livestreams available from several different views. There’ll be live, hosted coverage in both English and Spanish starting at […]

Mother Gray and Little Blue app review

Mother Gray and Little Blue (Oken Studios Limited, 2017; iOS and Android) is an interactive storybook app about a mother gray whale and her baby’s migration north during the winter. They need to leave their lagoon off the coast of California and join the other whales at “the top of the world,” where food is […]

Tiggly Chef: Addition app review

Tiggly’s educational apps can be played alone or with the corresponding Tiggly-brand silicone counting, letter, or shape toys. The engaging Tiggly Chef: Addition (2014; iOS and Android) makes a natural follow-up to Tiggly Adventure, inviting you to add numbers up to ten in combinations of units. Select the first level from the menu, and an […]

Mammals app review

The latest in Tinybop’s Explorer’s Library series, Mammals (2017; iOS only) offers a fascinating introduction to mammals and how their bodies operate. The app opens on a natural history museum–like gallery containing five subtly animated creatures: little brown bat, Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth, red kangaroo, African elephant, and Bengal tiger. Tap on any animal to interact […]