As we glide into another new year Teachers With Apps would like to share with you some of the BEST Book Apps of 2014 that we had the pleasure of reviewing. We certainly can’t cover it all as we are a small operation, but we continue to aspire to helping you find the best quality educational apps. We would also like to make sure that you are familiar with the Book App Alliance and direct you to all the great things that they are doing in promoting literacy. Enjoy the reviews and by all means please leave a comment and let us know what other great book apps are on your favorite list!
First up, the revolutionary K.I.W.i. Storybooks are like nothing you’ve ever experienced before in a children’s literature adventure. This is a total immersion package in worlds we may rarely see and interact with on such a detailed level. Its part art installation, part adventure, and a total integrative skill building learning experience that will stay with kids long into adulthood. Each set includes the enlarged panels, which are printed on a vinyl-like material to keep the panels protected, interactive apps with scannable markers, and performing arts activities that are curriculum based for kids Pre-K through 5th grade. This mind-bending and unconventional concept of story book apps by Roxie Munro is destined to change how we view litereature in the future. This entirely new platform of combining books, apps, and life size story frames wherein children are actively involved in the learning through exploration, movement, and student team work are a major breakthrough for learning experiences. Each app developed by OCG Studios is cleverly paired with a visually stimulating panoramic walk-in book, inspiring kids to discover the wide world around them. Use this combo as a launching pad to implement critical thinking skills, communication, collaboration and creativity into the curriculum. K.I.W.i. Storybook backdrops are available in 11 themes: Rainforest and Desert, Farm and Maze, Fire Station and Risky Residence, Submersible, Dinosaurs, TV Studio, Castle, Old West, and Space Station.
Dr. Seuss Treasury by Oceanhouse Media, is the complete collection of Dr. Seuss Books which have been adapted to book apps by this wonderful company. This app contains their entire collection of Dr. Seuss Books in one handy location. This is a great collection to share the wonder of Dr. Seuss with your children, and have them grow up with these wonderful books just like you once did. These classics, with all of the infamous characters – the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, the Lorax, Sam-I-Am, and many, many more are a must have for any digital device shared with children! Parents can see their children’s reading skills improve with statistics for number of books read, hours read, pages turned, and words tapped. Each of the books contain 3 reading options: Read to Me, Read it myself, and Auto play which caters for a wide range of age groups.
The Four Seasons: A Vivaldi Storybook, by Infinite Fermata, is a darling introduction for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners to get familiar with and develop a love of classical music. Set to the four seasons in all their glory gives this interactive storybook the added bonus of a long shelf life. There’s also many gorgeous collage-like illustrations by, Akiko McQuerrey, displaying animals and the natural world! From badger brushing his teeth in the winter to finding the missing gosling in spring the story progresses to dancing sunflowers and bees pollinating to the skateboarding squirrels gathering acorns in the fall in preparation for the winter ahead, silent snow falling and owls perched on a bare tree, brings this tale full circle with lots of laughs, giggles, and “Ah Ha” moments. The text is delightful, Fresh Spring, ripe Summer, Lavish Fall, pale Winter… which is your favorite?
My Caterpillar by StoryToy’s let’s you take care of your very own caterpillar until he is ready to become a beautiful butterfly! As his guardian you will feed him delicious fruit from the trees, make sure he has some fun along the way with the toys, visits duck friends in the pond, takes care of his watering chore and gets enough sleep. The user will go through the cycle of feeding, playing, visiting and completing the watering chore before the Very Hungry Caterpillar is ready to sleep. This app allows for wonderful vocabulary development used along side of an adult (ripe fruit, sleeping, playing, bouncing, popping, sailing, eating, crawling).
WhooHoo! Who’s………Hungry? Well, The Very Hungry Caterpillar in StoryToy’s new app is very hungry. Based on Eric Carle’s beloved books “The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, and Mr. Seahorse amongst others,” preschoolers try and win badges whilst completing an assortment of early learning tasks. Filled with Eric Carle’s illustrations and references to his books, select and choose activities to accomplish different goals and objectives through 3D interactive activities and games. Skills of matching, sorting, puzzles, colors and counting, are all portrayed using animations based on the original glorious artwork of Eric Carle.
Busytown Mysteries, by Loud Crow Interactive, has just entered the app market so if you want your children to have some great, clean, fun while strengthening their brainpower, this is the app to grab! First, it is free for the first download. Second, it has all the beloved characters that you will want to share with your own families. And third, each toontale has a specific area of learning it focuses on, with clear educational objectives. This app is being praised as being a hybrid app (part book, part activity, part kids’ TV show) and features three different mysteries involving the Busytown characters.
PJ’s PJs, by Ink Robin, is an adorable book app series starring Percival Jenkins, who LOVES bedtime! This just might be the perfect app to help you get your little ones to bed with relative ease. You maybe even get a bath in, prior to your little one retiring, without a fuss. Percival has 329 different pairs of amazing pajamas, and every time he puts on his pajamas a new adventure begins. There are three stories so far; PJ’s PJs Giraffe! is the first in the series, followed by PJ’s PJs – Koalas! and PJ’s PJs – Anteaters!.Teachers With Apps sure hopes they plan to keep adding additional titles to this series, as the potential following for Percival Jenkins is huge! In this story PJ is wearing his giraffe pajamas which transform him into a real giraffe in Africa. Read full review
Archie’s Egyptian Adventure, by Daren Mason and Muddy Boots Media, is a recent release. This time traveling app is part book, part game, and all around great fun! So, here is the low down on Archie – he is a busy time traveler and with each artifact he find, he is off on another adventure back in time to reconnect the artifact with the owner. Best part, you get to go along with him as he goes deeper and deeper back in time. Due to Archie’s magic digging boots whenever he finds something quite amazing he is transported back in time to meet the original owner of the artifact. First find, Howard Carter’s book and after a several spins Archie finds himself in Egypt in the year 1922. Howard is in pursuit of the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamen and he asks Archie to join him since he’s a whiz at finding things. Read full review
Four Little Corners, by DADA Company, is a simple storybook app with a sophisticated message – fitting in with your peers can be as difficult as fitting a square peg through a round hole. Wow! Four Little Corners is digital masterpiece, based on the original book by Jérôme Ruillier, whose message is a timeless classic. We LOVE this unassuming yet profound story/app; it is a delightfully darling little tale that has such a powerful message! Four Little Corners reinforces integral values such as friendship, integration, equality participation, comradeship, and social justice. The message that it is just fine to be different comes through loud and clear! Four Little Corners reinforces integral values such as friendship, integration, equality participation, comradeship, and social justice. Read full review
Crisp P. Bacon – My Life So Far…, by Len Lucero & Kristina Tracy and developed by Oceanhouse Media, is a heartwarming story about a lovable and inspiring handicapped piglet. This tale is based on the true story and popular YouTube video about a baby pig born with a congenital defect that hinders mobility in his rear legs. Len Lucero, a veterinarian, builds Chris his own cart to enable him to get around independently. This inspirational story is all about how Len designs this 10 day old pig a wheel chair made of toy parts, and how Chris is given a second lease on life. This endearing app has much to teach in the way of empathy and celebrating diversity. Read full review