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Shadow House app review


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Classic nursery rhymes meet interactive twenty-first-century technology in the Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime app (ustwo, 2011; iOS only). 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 […]

DreamWorks Shrek & Friends app review

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A simple, drag-and-drop app, DreamWorks Shrek & Friends (DreamWorks and Fox & Sheep, July 2016; iOS only) 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 […]

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; iOS and Android), you choose a destination for Harvey — and a friend to welcome him — and get packing. You can choose to put clothes and snacks […]