Ngurrara: A Ngarluma Story app review

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Interactive graphic novel Ngurrara: A Ngarluma Story (written by Tyson Mowarin and illustrated by Stu Campbell; Yijala Yala/BighART, 2013) introduces users to the history of the Ngarluma, the indigenous people of the Burrup Peninsula in north western Australia, and of Murujuga, one of the world’s oldest and most extensive petroglyph sites now threatened by industry […]

KidEWords app review

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KidEWords (Chocolapps, 2014), an educational crossword puzzle app for kids, helps children learn words, associate images with the correct words, and improve their spelling skills. On the app’s menu page you choose the Easy, Medium, or Hard version, based on your spelling ability. Then choose a level from one to twenty (the first three in […]

Exploratorium: Sound Uncovered app review

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The Exploratorium in San Francisco is one of the (if not the) coolest hands-on science and discovery museums in the country. The Exploratorium’s app Sound Uncovered (2013) lets you experience what makes the place so great without having to hop a plane. An intro — “Hear Here” — gives an overall explanation of sound, concluding: […]

The Adventures of Captain Underpants app review

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The Adventures of Captain Underpants app (Scholastic, 2013) features an easy-to-navigate full-color digital adaptation of Dav Pilkey’s graphic novel of the same name, plus an avatar generator, a sound effects mixer, and a panoply of other mini-games based on the story. Best friends and class pranksters George and Harold create a comic book superhero, Captain […]

Kids Discover: Ancient Egypt app review

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Long-running children’s nonfiction magazine Kids Discover has made an admirable jump to digital — twenty-one of their issues on natural and social sciences are currently available as apps. I took a look at the digital version of volume 11: Ancient Egypt (Joe Zeff Design, 2013). The app offers eight content chapters: “The Gift of the […]

Piccadilly’s Circus app review

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Developer Ink Robin‘s Piccadilly’s Circus (2012) is a showstopper of a storybook app. The human and animal performers of Piccadilly’s Circus are “a happy bunch who always got along (even first thing in the morning).” But the claws come out, so to speak, when ringmaster Mr. Piccadilly must take a sick day. Each performer feels […]

Digital fun and learning

i love mountains app

Nonfiction apps and e-books can be excellent tools to supplement classroom learning or independent research. These four interactive offerings — three science, one poetry — engage young users as they educate. Cute kid Sloan Graham, the bear-suit-clad main character of I Love Mountains, has a passionate interest in the titular landforms. Over nineteen interactive pages, […]

Ansel + Clair: American Bowl app review

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Ansel + Clair: American Bowl (Cognitive Kid, 2013) brings together American history…and virtual bowling. In other Ansel + Clair apps, Ansel (an alien) and Clair (a flying robot) travel through time and space learning about Earth’s different places and eras. In American Bowl, the space duo needs your help to free fifty bald eagles from […]

BeBop Blox app review

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Toddlers meet Tetris in the puzzle-based app BeBop Blox (Originator, formerly Callaway Digital Arts, 2013). On the main screen, viewers find twelve blocks (three rows of four), jauntily wiggling to some simple jazzy background music. The squares are designed to look like classic wooden block toys painted in pastel hues and with center cut-outs of […]

52 Fun Things to Do on the Plane app review

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It’s school vacation week here in Boston — which always makes me think about taking trips. The app 52 Fun Things to Do on the Plane (Oceanhouse Media and Chronicle Books, 2013), created by Lynn Gordon with illustrations by Susan Synarski and Karen Johnson, will come in handy for parents looking for activities to occupy […]