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GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine app review

I first became aware of toy start-up GoldieBlox when I saw its smart commercial “The Princess Machine,” in which a group of young girls engineer a complex Rube Goldberg machine using (mostly) stereotypically “girl” toys. The mission of GoldieBlox and inventor/CEO Debbie Sterling is “to disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generation of […]

Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap Jungle app review

A companion to Axel Scheffler’s flip book of the same name, Flip Flap Jungle (Nosy Crow, 2015; iOS only) allows you to create seemingly infinite animals by combining the top half of one and the bottom half of another. Want to see what a parakeet might look like with four furry legs? Swipe the bottom of […]

Toca Dance app review

So, you think you can dance? Bust a move with Toca Dance (March 2016; iOS only). Much like Siân’s fave Toca Band, this latest Toca Boca app is weird and wonderful, with an emphasis on creative, exploratory play. (I also love the quieter Toca Nature.) First choose your performers, then outfit them with costumes and […]

Doctor Who Comic Maker app review

As a fan of both Doctor Who and comics, how could I resist the siren song of that familiar theremin theme emanating from BBC’s official Doctor Who Comic Maker app (March 2016; iOS only)? Similar to HarperCollins/Night & Day Studio’s Big Nate: Comix by U!, this app lets you write your own adventures for the […]

Hansel and Gretel app review

If you’re in the mood to be a little bit scared, a little bit charmed, and maybe a little bit hungry for sugary houses, the Hansel and Gretel app by Fusee (2015; iOS only) might just be for you. On each page of this adaptation, you can listen to the (sometimes forced) rhyming text and […]

Sago Mini Robot Party app review

“This is a partying robot with a sock hand, ’cause I gave it a sock hand,” I told Katie. “Do what you gotta do,” she replied. I was in the mood to give my robot a sock hand, so a sock hand he had. And yes, a sock hand can make cupcakes. On the off-chance […]

iLearnWith Max & Ruby: Science! app review

iLearnWith Max & Ruby: Science! (Tribal Nova, 2013; iOS only) features the beloved characters from Rosemary Wells’s books and TV show playing backyard games to illustrate some basic scientific concepts. As the app opens, Max and Ruby stand in front of three game options: “Water Blast,” “Ball-O-Rama,” and “Make Believe.” Just tap the game you’d […]

Empire Run app review

The setup of Empire Run (Planet H/Red Games, 2014; iOS only) is similar to another Planet H/Red Games app, Frontier Heroes (and with the same caveat about some arguably stereotypical images; see details below) several sections, themed by historical time period, each contain a few games; each game has a number of different levels which […]

MarcoPolo Ocean app review

MarcoPolo Ocean (MarcoPolo, 2014; iOS only) — in the same series as MarcoPolo Arctic — introduces young children to an ocean biome. A blue sea with gentle waves appears on the main screen as vaguely Caribbean-sounding background music plays. Before beginning, you can orient yourself by investigating underwater, looking at some fish, bobbing the buoy, […]

Kiko’s Thinking Time app review

In today’s exciting installment of “Shoshana Is Bad at Spatial Reasoning”…Kiko’s Thinking Time (Kiko Labs, 2015; iOS only)! This is an app with a lot of games that help hone a lot of skills. I’m sorry, did I say “a lot?” I meant “a zillion.” Approximately. Each day, the app provides a “Daily Quest.” Complete […]