App of the Week :: Achoo Gaboo

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      Achoo Gaboo is a wonderful interactive children's story that was "crafted by a small team of dreamers at Pixure Book Publishing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania," says their intro on the Grown Ups section.  I love seeing authors and developers put their heart and soul into a children's storybook app!  And in Achoo Gaboo storybook app geared towards children 2-5 years of age, the star of this sweet tale is a blue elephant named Gaboo who will engage and entertain your kids! Created by Josie Cellone, illustrated by Timothy Banks (Wilkinson Studios) and built in Unity, Achoo Gaboo features an original soundtrack and humorous sound effects to entertain and engage early readers who are learning word association. Every time Gaboo achoos, kids can pop the rainbow bubbles that trumpet from his trunk and tickle his monkey friends who giggle "bless you." Readers … [Read more...]

App of the Week :: Storm & Skye and The Secret of the Car Wash

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  Storm & Skye and The Secret of the Car Wash is a magical audio-visual tale that lasts a little over 45 minutes!!! The story starts out with the narrator that lets you know that Storm, a young boy, has recently moved to a new part of town with his mum, and his step-dad Baldwin. Storm isn't too keen on this situation; having left all of his friends, and especially his dad back on the other side of town. This allows you into the mind of Storm and how he's feeling with no friends and in a new area. Displaced. Baldwin, his step-dad, "can't even get a bookcase put together" [as he's been working on it for a couple of days, whereas his dad would have had it completed in hours]. So many kids can relate to this or may know/have friends that can so they are able to empathize. There are small swirling circles that will pop up at various moments throughout the chapters and … [Read more...]

App of the Week :: Three Little Pigs, Read & Play

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  Three Little Pigs by Pony Apps is a wonderful interactive version of the classic story in an app format.  The app is available in Russian and English and you have the option to turn off or on the narration and sound.  On the cover page when you touch it the butterflies fly around. It's pretty neat. So we start the story by joining three little pig brothers named Niff-Niff, Nuff-Nuff, and Naff-Naff.     This app pretty much follows the traditional story with the two brothers who decide they want to play longer and not build their houses until later, while their one brother starts on his house much earlier. The fun part of this app is that it is interactive. On pretty much all of the pages your child can touch the pigs and items on the screen and something will happen on the page.     On this page you can make the pigs play with the … [Read more...]

App of the Week :: Count Dracu1 Meet My Friends

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  When App Developer Popcorn Grenade asked me to review their new app CountDrac1 I couldn't wait to check out this Halloween app!  This is my favorite time of year as many of you know (and some even share my favorite holiday - yep, Halloween) so this was a real treat.  We are greeted by CountDrac and he tells us to look around his house.  Among other things we see is a coffin that when touched opens and we fin Rasta "who is sad because he is missing his teddy bear, which is to bad." But don't worry, the skeleton teddy bear is on the ground and when Count Drac hands it to this Rasta hat wearing skeleton (I mean his name is Rasta after all) he thanks his friend.       Okay, so this is going to be a funny and silly app - can't wait!  When you touch the skull that is sitting on what looks like a monsters feet table it giggles while opening his mouth.  … [Read more...]

App of the Week :: The Snow Queen

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    The Snow Queen by Pony Apps is a beautifully illustrated storybook app.  Snow Queen is the first story released of a series that is currently in production. These apps are storybook apps designed for parents to read to their kids. They feature interactive visuals, games and puzzles to accompany the story. The app is available in Russian and English and you have the option to turn off or on the narration and sound.  The story begins and we see a wicked goblin standing in front of a mirror.  But this was not any ordinary mirror - he created a mirror with evil powers. Whatever it touched it minimized the good in it and things that were bad became even worse.  When you touch the mirror it turns into several scary faces. I think kids who enjoy scarier stories would enjoy this storybook app. It reminds me of the stories we were told as kids - they tended to be a bit … [Read more...]

App of the Week :: Let’s Paint Dinosaurs by Dotnamestudios

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  Since I was a kid I have been fascinated by dinosaurs.  I mean really, these huge beasts walked our lands!  We do still have some dinosaurs left today but much smaller than say the T-Rex or my all-time favorite Stegosaurus.  Great white sharks, alligators and sea turtles have been around for a long time.  There isn't anything quite like the black eyes of a Great White is there?!  Last year we had the chance to review Dinosaur Zoo and I was so impressed with how life-like the dinosaurs are in the app.  They make great sounds and move just like what you image these beasts would have been like back in the day.  Dotnamestudios, creator of the acclaimed Dinosaur Zoo app (Educational App of the Year 2011, 2012 and featured on Apple's 2013 "Together" commercial) now brings you more high-end CG dinosaur fun with their new release, Let’s Paint Dinosaurs. This is the perfect app for … [Read more...]

App of the Week :: Alfie, Haathi and The Magic Bioscope

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    The illustrations in Alfie, Haathi and The Magic Bioscope are just wonderful!  This storybook app was created by Growl Media with the intention of teaching kids about other cultures and languages.  The story is about Haathi and Alfie who are the best of friends - though an unlikely pair they might be.  You see, Haathi is a baby elephant and Alfie is young Indian boy who explore the animal kingdom together.  You have the option to have it read to you or you can read it to yourself.  I always like to have it read to us first because I like to hear how well the narrator does with the story.  I must say I  like how calming the narrator's voice is for Alfie, Haathi and The Magic Bioscope.  This lends itself to a nice afternoon read before naptime.  On the first page we are introduced to the main characters and Haathi explains that he is an Indian Elephant and Alfie and him … [Read more...]

App of the Week :: Grendel’s Great Escape

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    We are excited to be reviewing Michelle Anaya's newly updated Grendel's Great Escape storybook app as we are big fans of her newest storybook app release Monster's Jam!  Grendel's Great Escape opens up with a picture of a young boy walking to school with his backpack on and a ferret sitting on top of it smiling at us.  We had the option to either Read it Ourselves or Have it Read to Us.  I usually like to start off with having it read to us so I can hear the narrator and how well they do with the storytelling.  I like Melissa Reizian Frank voice and she does a good job narrating the story.  We see Martin jumping out of bed (on the second alarm ring) and is looking to find his favorite monster Tee.  We are told to move the clothes around to help him find what he is looking for.  I can see why  this is his favorite T-shirt - it would probably be my daughter's as well.  … [Read more...]

App of the Week: Extraordinary Jenny Jones

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This week we are featuring a new app, Extraordinary Jenny Jones released by the PaperPlane Company. The app and iBook launched this past week on the AppStore and iBookstore.  I have to say I immediately fell in love with the illustrations and title of the story. I love using tools that teach our kids about being extraordinary and using their imaginations!  Extraordinary Jenny Jones is about a little girl who sees the world through totally different eyes.  What everyone else sees as round, Jenny Jones sees as square. And the other way round.  Aimed at kids aged 6 and up, it’s a wonderful children’s tale about believing in yourself no matter how different you feel about things or even how you see the world.  These types of themes are a big hit in my household as I like to teach that it is okay to be different or to see things differently from those around you. The first page … [Read more...]

Disney Pixar UP: My Name is Dug Review and Giveaway

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Disney Pixar's movie UP was one of my favorite movies the year it came out.  I loved the whole story and Ellie reminded me a bit of my adventurous daughter - with the crazy red hair and all!  And what isn't to like about Dug, the silly dog who wants to help his master any way possible.  Dug reminds me of our dog as he is a tad goofy like him! So it was with some excitement to hear that Disney Pixar released a fun app called UP: My Name Is Dug.  The story was written by Kiki Thorpe and illustrated by Ronnie del Carmen.  I like that the illustrations are hand-drawn and you can see the similarity with the movie but it is done in such a way that you feel you are reading a real picture book that is not filled with too many distracting animations.  We start off with Dug sitting down looking at you wagging his tail and sticking his tongue out in eager anticipation of what iss to come.  And … [Read more...]