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Pet Bingo app review

I wish I had had Pet Bingo (Duck Duck Moose/Khan Academy, 2015; iOS and Android) when I was in elementary school. It combines one of my favorite things, pets, with one of my least favorite things, the necessary evil that is math, for math practice that is actually kinda…fun. (Here’s another math app I like […]

Fallen London app review

“Thirty years ago, London was stolen by bats. Now, Hell is close and immortality is cheap, but the screaming has largely stopped…” In Fallen London (Failbetter Games, 2015; iOS and Android), I — a shadowy being of unspecified gender, just escaped from prison — stalk the streets of a Hell-adjacent Victorian London with an Alluring Companion for a cohort […]

Roald Dahl’s Twit or Miss app review

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

“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

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

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Sago Mini Boats app review

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 […]