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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 […]

Melody Jams app review

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Similar in structure to Toca Boca’s Toca Band (but both a little less substantial and a little less…out there), Melody Jams (Melody Jams Inc., April 2016; iOS only) lets you rock out with your own hand-picked backup band. Fill up to five band spots by selecting from twelve monster musicians on instruments such as guitar, […]

Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime app review

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Classic nursery rhymes meet interactive twenty-first-century technology in the Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime app (ustwo, 2011). Beginning with “Jack and Jill,” children can read and/or hear eight nursery rhymes and manipulate the characters and their props, sometimes in humorous ways — for example, swipe that pail of water up the well and a fish pops […]

DreamWorks Shrek & Friends app review

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A simple, drag-and-drop app, DreamWorks Shrek & Friends (DreamWorks and Fox & Sheep, July 2016) invites you to get toddler-aged versions of six different DreamWorks characters ready for their day. The app opens with some very familiar typeface (hint, it’s green with ears) and moves directly into a colorful, early morning cityscape, complete with gentle […]

Sago Mini Boats app review

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I took Harvey the dog out in a pickle boat and made him seasick. And how was your day? At the beginning of Sago Mini Boats (2015), you choose a destination for Harvey — and a friend to welcome him — and get packing. You can choose to put clothes and snacks into the suitcase […]

LumiKids Park app review

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LumiKids Park (2015) is part of Lumos Labs’ series of “digital playspace[s] for kids to explore concepts through intuitive and adaptive activities.” Each of the four apps (so far; see our reviews of Snow, Backyard, and Beach) present different concepts to develop different cognitive skills. Park focuses specifically on visual-motor coordination, sorting, and attention. As […]

Trilo Spelling app review

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In Trilo Spelling (Swedish/American developer Trilo, June 2016), 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 to form […]

Fiete Sports app review

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With the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics beginning tomorrow, what better time to play the Fiete Sports app (Ahoiii, July 2016)? 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 sporting events. […]

Daily Wonder app review

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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). The app is no-frills: tap “Daily Wonder” in the pull-out menu […]

Toca Tailor: Fairy Tales app review

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Toca Tailor: Fairy Tales (Toca Boca, 2012) 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 a cottage […]