This wonderful post, The Best Books About Christmas, is from Carisa Kulver from Digital Storytime

A Charlie Brown Christmas by Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named A Charlie Brown Christmas

This is a top notch holiday app from Loud Crow Interactive, makers of the popular PopOut series. This app has a similar format with an assortment of fun additional interactive elements, like helping Linus throw snowballs or getting Charlie Brown to peer into his empty mailbox. Text is in several layers on many pages, with original voices from the Christmas special narrating the story as it highlights word-for-word. Lovers of the original Christmas special will want to download this title right away … it is such a treat! If you haven’t seen the special (meaning you’ve been living under a rock for the past 50 years), you will also not want to miss this spectacular title. Play jingle bells Read more …

 Santa’s Suit is Missing! by Ginger Whale Pty. Ltd.

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named Santa's Suit is Missing!

Featuring an original storyline for a Christmas tale, along with lovely (although limited) enhancements … this app is a must-download for the season of Santa! It begins in the first person, telling a tale that puts the reader in the driver’s seat – readers enter their name for personalization of the message. You are an elf on the most important day of the year – Christmas Eve. You must help Santa while all the other elves are asleep, giving them an advantage.

When Santa needs an elf, your “elf phone” makes a sound and you’re off! Santa needs you to get dressed and this is where the app get’s interesting. Children can choose one of several different suit ideas, including a Viking, Read more …

PopOut! The Night Before Christmas by Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named PopOut! The Night Before Christmas

W. W. Denslow’s beautiful illustrations come to life in this classic Christmas tale by Clement Moore. The turn-of-the-last-century images manage to capture a certain kind of nostalgia while utterly transforming the genre of pop-up books at the same time. This title is not quite as stunning as Loud Crow’s “Peter Rabbit” (how can you top bursting berries?), but it still remains the top choice for an interactive “Night Before Christmas”. Delightful interactive & animated elements are peppered throughout the pages. Young children may find this interactivity distracting from the old-fashioned story, yet this app has the unique ability to draw the very youngest and oldest readers together for Read more …

Tacky’s Christmas by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named Tacky’s Christmas

It’s Christmas time in the nice icy land where Tacky and his fellow penguins celebrate the holiday season. They wrap presents, decorate their igloos and sing holiday songs. But Tacky gets stuck in an ice chimney, practicing to be Santa this year, along with lots of other holiday-themed shenanigans. When unexpected guests (the hunters) join the festivities, Tacky stands up to them. In the end, the hunters join the penguins for a fishy feast in the spirit of Christmas goodwill. Solidly made OM Book from Oceanhouse Media.

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly reviewed for a special post in our blog for the winter holidays, 2011.

Nighty Night! HD by Fox & Sheep

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named Nighty Night! HD

Nighty Night! begins with, “Night falls. The moon is high. All the people are ready to sleep as they turn off the lights. But wait! Look at the farmhouse. There are still some lights on. The animals are sleepy, too. Do you want to turn off the lights?” A peaceful farm appears, where you can tap on any one of seven lit areas on the page. The next scene shows an animal still awake (with a light switch nearby). Tap the switch (each light & switch is different) and the animal settles into sleep, closing their eyes.

After all the animals have been put to bed, there is just one person still up – a little boy (and the reader). The last scene is of this little boy waving out his lit Read more …

 The Nutcracker Musical Storybook by Mouse King Media

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named The Nutcracker Musical Storybook

This is a gorgeous presentation of the Nutcracker story with lots of animated elements and some light interactivity (mostly sound effects). In the storybook mode, the page dims to let you know to turn the page. This title is not narrated and initially, I found it a bit difficult to navigate, although you can return home by tapping the top of the page and an assortment of numbered ornaments functions as a page guide. The ornaments transform after being tapped or when a page has been read. Text appears on the page and then disappears on its own, so some young readers may find this difficult to enjoy on their own if they don’t read the text in time. While I really enjoyed this tale, especially the Read more …

 Violet’s 12 Days of Christmas by My Black Dog Books, LLC
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This is a very interactive title in the Violet book app series by Allison Keeme and My Black Dog Books. It is a little different than her other titles, with a lot more interactive elements. Violet is shown on each page with the items from the traditional 12 Days of Christmas, many with humorous and modern twists. The text for the story/song is hidden with a little tab on each page to bring it up. Children will love playing with this app, although it is less suited for bedtime or quiet reading. A wonderful way to introduce young kids to the tradition of the “12 days of Christmas” this holiday season!

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly reviewed for a special post in our blog Read more …

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named Auracle HD – Winter Is

A cute storybook about the excitement of a chilly Northwest winter by Puget Sound native and Alaska resident, Ann Dixon. Wonderful educational enhancements are the main perk of Auryn Apps digital re-imagining of this 2002 print title. Words highlight as narrated word-for-word & interactivity is strictly informational. Tap any word in the text to hear the audio again or tap any image to hear and see the word. Color-drenched illustrations & nice page layouts in this digital title make for one very nice seasonal read.

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly reviewed for a special post in our blog for the winter holidays, 2011.

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named The Night Before Christmas presented by One Hundred Robots

This is an exceptionally nice digital rendition of the classic with great production values, especially for the audio & animation. Watch the ‘visions of sugar plums’ dancing in the sleepers heads and see Santa fly through the sky with his sled full of presents. This title is nicely narrated and features great computer graphics along with easy-to-read text (although no highlighting) and simple arrow page turns. Solidly made with a nice array of settings although no interactivity. Overall this is one of the nicest versions of “The Night Before Christmas” in the AppStore!

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly reviewed for a special post in our blog for the Read more …

 Jingle All The Way by Hallmark

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named Jingle All The Way

Jingle is an adorable husky pup that loves all the children who go to Pineville Elementary School. But Jingle doesn’t have a home of his own. He follows the children all the way to their bus stops and doors but when they tell him to be a good dog and ‘go home’ he doesn’t have anywhere to go. The story has a heartwarming ending, though, courtesy of Santa’s intervention. This Hallmark book app is intended to work in conjunction with their ‘story buddy’ stuffed animal of Jingle, but other than a brief mention of the toy at the beginning of the book, this book app is delightful all by itself. The app is very lightly animated, narrated and includes the ability to record your own narration. Also, Read more …

 The Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Tree by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree

Papa tries to find the perfect tree for the family for Christmas … but so many other creatures live in the tree that he doesn’t want to take away their home. In the end, the family finds a new way to celebrate … A heartwarming and original tale perfect for holiday reading with young children. This OM Books title, from Oceanhouse Media, features the original illustrations from the print edition of this classic with light enhancements including images that say their name with a light tap, highlighting word-for-word with narration and great sound effects. A great family-friendly title for seasonal reading with a focus on biblical lessons.

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly Read more …

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named Arthur Christmas Movie Storybook

This title is based on the holiday movie from Sony Pictures, just released last week. Like other movie-themed books from iStorytime, this app features crisp, high-definition images from the film. The story itself follows the plot of the film, a modern Christmas story where Santa has a high-tech present-delivery operation and his son, Arthur, tries to help out when one present gets left behind. There isn’t any real animation in this app, however, there is a uniquely cool kind of interactivity. A sliding bar along the bottom of over a dozen pages moves the scene so you can animate it yourself. Otherwise this-this a solidly made app, although it doesn’t have to highlight with the narration or a Read more …

Christmas Tale HD by TabTale LTD

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named Christmas Tale HD

This is a unique and very interactive read & play title with light animation and some great features. It includes a countdown clock that shows the number of days ’til Christmas and even a ‘wish list’ you can fill out and email to Santa (or anyone else). Unfortunately, as a free app, it includes a banner ad at the bottom, although an in-app purchase can turn this off. There is also a very little connection between the interactive elements and the story, but children are unlikely to complain as they find hundreds of images that bounce, make noise and generally amusing.

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly reviewed for a special post in our blog for the winter holidays, 2011.

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named The Christmas Train - I Think I Can

This is a cute story about a little train engine that helps a large train get back on track to deliver holiday gifts to children on the other side of a mountain. Perseverance pays off in this sweet Christmas tale. The app itself is solidly made & features a unique kind of interactivity based on the print ‘magic ink’ books. In digital form, these titles are a lot of fun, with each page containing two images and text – simply swipe your finger over the grey-scale page to reveal a second colorful page that triggers additional text. Otherwise, the app is not especially enhanced but has a great story, nice illustrations, and quality narration to go along with the ‘magic’.

This title is one of Read more …

 Kung Fu Panda Holiday Storybook by zuuka incorporated

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named Kung Fu Panda Holiday Storybook

Po, the Kung Fu Panda, is chosen to host the grand ‘winter feast’ that features a 27-course meal with 7 bowls & 40 chopsticks per place setting. Po tries to enlist his father to help him with all the cooking, but he won’t leave their restaurant on the feast day when so many customers are relying on him. The furious five help out with the cooking, but in the end, Po chooses to be a good son rather than a good host. Overall a solidly made book app that features stunningly crisp scenes from the movie but no enhancements beyond narration & a cute extra game of finding the hidden lantern on every one of the nearly 40 pages.

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly reviewed Read more …

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named The Night Before Christmas, told by Meryl Streep

From the Rabbit Ears collection, based on a print/VHS series from the 1980’s, this version of The Night Before Christmas has a video of the story with celebrity narration. There is also an option to read the storybook or narrate it yourself. In video mode, the highlight is great narration (by none other than Meryl Streep) and wonderful background music. There is no text to follow along with in video mode, but otherwise, this is a delightful and solidly made storybook app perfect for holiday reading & watching.

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly reviewed for a special post in our blog for the winter holidays, 2011.

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named Christmas Activity Book HD - by BabyFirst

This is a packed ‘activity book’ app with Christmas themed stories, songs, puzzles, sticker pages and more. This app includes lots of educational games, too, including counting & matching colors. Features light animation with most activities. Crisp cartoon-like graphics will appeal to children along with the variety of games. Parents should be aware that there are several in-app ads for the developer’s other apps that come up in-between the pages of other activities. Turn off in-app purchases or set the device to airplane mode to avoid unintentional trips outside the app.

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly reviewed for a special post in our blog for the winter holidays, Read more …

Christmas Tale II HD by TabTale LTD

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named Christmas Tale II HD

This is another very interactive title from TabTale, not unlike their first app, out since 2010 called simply Christmas Tale. This title has simple text on each page that makes up less of a story and more of a narrated activity book. Readers are asked to name Santa’s reindeer (just tap to hear the names), decorate a tree, build a snowman, stuff Santa down a chimney, open gifts and sing along to a nice variety of holiday tunes. It is an amazing array of well-produced enhancements for just 6 pages. Unfortunately, this is also a free app that includes a banner ad at the bottom, although an in-app purchase can turn this off. The ads & text can get in the way of the interactive elements Read more …

Reindeers! by Zidware

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named Reindeers!

This cute, although very short, a storybook with three different Christmas songs to play in the background as the story is narrated nicely. There isn’t anything interactive in the simple storybook, but it is festive, full of brightly colored graphics and solidly made with an easy to read font (no highlighting) & simple arrow page-turning. This title is also lightly animated with moving snowflakes and has a fun extra – a sticker storybook with lots of stickers to place on several Christmas scenes with reindeer, Santa, elves and more.

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly reviewed for a special post in our blog for the winter holidays, 2011.

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named The Nativity Story by Read & Record

This book app is from a collection of short, simple stories that stand out most for the ability to easily record your own narration. For this holiday-themed title, I was able to record my voice reading the book in less than 5 minutes using very intuitive controls within the app. The app also has nice background music, but it only plays on the title page … otherwise, the app is silent. There is also no interactivity or animation. The story itself is nicely illustrated with simple computer-drawn graphics. While lacking ‘wow’ factor, these ‘read & record’ apps are excellent choices for recording narration by a loved one.

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly reviewed for a Read more …

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named 'Twas The Night Before Christmas by Read & Record

This book app is from a collection of short, simple stories that stand out most for the ability to easily record your own narration. For this holiday-themed title, I was able to record my voice reading the book in less than 5 minutes using very intuitive controls within the app. The app also has nice background music, but it only plays on the title page … otherwise, the app is silent. There is also no interactivity or animation. The story itself is nicely illustrated with simple computer-drawn graphics. While lacking ‘wow’ factor, these ‘read & record’ apps are excellent choices for recording narration by a loved one.

This title is one of over two dozen titles briefly reviewed for a Read more …

The Berenstain Bears and the Nutcracker by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named The Berenstain Bears and the Nutcracker

This is a delightful title from Oceanhouse Media with unique interactivity, based on the print book published recently, in 2011. Like other omBooks, this title has light interactivity that lets readers tap any image to hear & see the word, reinforcing visual connections for young readers. For fans of the beloved Berenstain Bear family, this holiday book app will be a treasured Christmas treat. Flexible settings, highlighting word-by-word with narration, great illustrations & sound effects make this a top-notch choice for holiday reading. You can even record your own voice reading the story! This is a holiday classic that makes the digital transition look effortless. Read more …

Recommended!

Merry Christmas Mom and Dad – Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Screen shot for the iPad childrens book app named Merry Christmas Mom and Dad - Little Critter

Merry Christmas Mom and Dad, by Mercer Mayer, is one of the classic Little Critter titles, published in print in 1983. In this title, Little Critter wants to join the family in creating Christmas cheer, although good intentions don’t always turn out so well. The digital version of this book also adds a new twist, keeping track as the young reader tries to find all 14 little grasshoppers and 15 little spiders hidden on every page.
Many readers have asked, “What kind of animal is Little Critter?” According to Wikipedia, Mercer Mayer did not specify which type of animal the Little Critter is, but, “he resembles a hedgehog, hamster or guinea pig.” So, basically, he’s a rodent … although Read more …
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