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Sir David Attenborough’s Story of Life app review

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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

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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

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“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

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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

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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.” […]

Hello Atlas app review

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The free Hello Atlas app (Wide Eyed Editions, October 2016; iOS and Android), a companion to the book of the same title, offers a simple introduction to over one hundred languages through greetings and introductory phrases. The opening menu is a slightly animated world map (boats and whales float around the continents), with seven labels: North […]

Sago Mini Babies Dress Up

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Sago Mini Babies Dress Up (Sago Sago, August 2016; iOS only) invites preschoolers to play dress-up with four cute — and familiar to Sago Sago fans — animal characters. The app opens with bird Robin, bunny Jack, cat Jinja, and dog Harvey sitting on porch steps. Given that it’s close to Halloween, it’s just slightly […]

Plum’s Creaturizer app review

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It’s that (internet) age-old problem: if kids are staring at screens, they aren’t playing outside. PBS Kids’s Plum’s Creaturizer app (2015; iOS and Android), follow-up to the Plum’s Photo Hunt app, attempts to combine techie-fun, some very early science, and outdoor play. According to the “For Parents” section, its aim is to help children “develop […]

The Complete Fairytale Play Theater app review

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Combine elements from Nosy Crow’s fairy-tale app series (The Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Snow White, and Goldilocks and Little Bear) to stage your own once-upon-a-time puppet show with The Complete Fairytale Play Theater (September 2016; iOS only). Start a new story and give it a title and […]

Toca Builders app review

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Toca Builders (Toca Boca, May 2016; iOS and Android) opens with a choice of an empty platform or one of several options where work has already started. That work involves constructing towers (or whatever you want) with colored blocks and painting these structures and/or the space around them. Each grid floats in what appears to […]