Category Archives: Amazon App Store
As hard as I tried to keep his life free of gender stereotypes, my little boy loves “boy things.” Trucks, trains, airplanes and cars are all fine and dandy, but what really floats my little guy’s boat are construction vehicles. This $.99 app was so worth the money.
Each letter of the alphabet has a corresponding construction vehicle. (A is for Aerial Lift! B is for Bulldozer! C is for Crane!) The interface is simple; there are two large circles at the bottom corners of the screen, one of which makes the vehicle move horizontally, and the other makes the machine perform a function (dump truck dumps, jackhammer hammers etc). Arrows at the top corners navigate to previous or subsequent vehicles. When you tap the word, the narrator says the letter and what it stands for e.g. “J is for Jackhammer.”
This app is great for developing print motivation skills because the content is so engaging for this age group. Navigation and interactivity are intuitive; and letter awareness, vocabulary, print awareness and dexterity are all supported in a fun way. As some other reviewers point out, if your little one doesn’t dig construction vehicles, this may not be the app for them, but if they ever exclaim “Look Mama! A digger!” you should definitely check it out.
Oceanhouse Media chooses good books to bring to life in eBook format. Tacky has held a special place in my heart for a few years now, and it’s fun to see him dive, sing, dance and take on a group of rough and tough hunters. The interactivity is minimal, which is standard fare for Oceanhouse, but the narration is decent and the sound effects cute. Snow falls on every page, the pages are easily swiped by little fingers and objects are labeled in print and out loud when touched. Check out the reviews from Common Sense Media and Kirkus.
Sandra Boynton vs eBooks: Sandra Boynton wins!!!!! (That’s a Dinosaur vs Bedtime allusion for any of you out there who didn’t catch it…..)
We have the board book version of this, and we loved it the way it was, but Loud Crow has added about 9 different flavours of awesome to make this eBook a truly fun experience. The animals all wiggle and make cute noises, the background music is soothing and the narrator sounds like a bespectacled, good natured grandpa with a cup of tea steaming on the side table. Taps turn on and off, creating pop-able bubbles or condensation that you can rub off. You can fling an entire drawer full of jammies across the room, pop buttons off the rhino’s shirt, open and close windows, toss towels around, catapult the animals up the stairs, and make fish jump out of the sea. As exciting as all of this sounds, it’s actually quite a soothing experience.
This eBook is an instance of a classic tree book being made available for digital consumption. Wright’s illustrations are gorgeous, though the developers could have made them much bigger. As it is they only take up about 25% of the screen, and since there is no narration or interactivity, the illustrations have to carry the show. Mother Goose rhymes are wonderful for soothing little people, and this collection of rhymes fits in a purse or diaper bag much better than the paper copy would.
We initially downloaded the lite version of Harold and the Purple Crayon for our Kindle Fire, mostly because we thought it was crazy that anyone would charge $6.99 for an eBook. Lo and behold, this app was a HUGE hit with the whole family! The original tree-based Harold was published in 1955 by Crockett Johnson and has since been made into short animated films, an Emmy-award winning TV series and apparently a movie is in production for 2013.
Each page shows Harold drawing a new adventure in grey, and it is the reader’s task to purpleize his lines. The narration is pleasing, the animation adorable and the interactivity engaging at many levels.
See the Common Sense Media review here.
Very cute interactive musical book! This app is a 2010 Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner. Duck Duck Moose makes many educational apps for toddlers and babies. Even though the suggested age for this app is 4+ on iTunes, the designer says 18 months and up, and my 5 month old enjoyed it too. Of course, it is more fun when kids can use the interactive elements themselves. Every page has different elements: the doors on the bus open and close when you touch them, the driver winks and moves her arm, and a dog barks, among many others. You can change the language of the book to French, Spanish, Italian, or German, change the instruments in the music, or even record yourself singing the song. This is definitely worth the price.
I love free stuff. And this eBook was free from the Amazon App Store. This eBook is best enjoyed with a big mug full of rum-spiked eggnog. Or something a little stronger.
There are 3 options for this one: Auto Play, Read to Me and Read it Myself. I did the Read to Me option, and I managed to be only slightly heebie-jeebied by the talking snowman.
You can click on the illustrations once creepy snowman dude stops narrating and you are rewarded with the spoken and written identification of whatever object you tapped. Not enough of the objects are labeled, however. I would have gotten a kick out of hearing the snowman say “Reindeer Butt.”
This nostalgic tale of stymied conformity contains vocabulary like “Red Schnoz” and a suspiciously gay-looking elf named Hermey who hates making toys and wants to be a dentist. Rudolph and Hermey run away from home and encounter a prospector named Yukon Cornelius; the Abominable Snow Monster; and King Moonracer (the flying lion who rules the land of the misfit toys). The plot is nutty, the characters fickle and there is a terrible ripping sound effect as Hermey the gay dentist elf extracts the Abominable Snow Monster’s teeth (after he dropped a huge chunk of ice on its head).
What on earth were they on when they made this? I LOVE it!!! But I will NOT be reading it with my progeny until he’s old enough to discuss concepts like narrative structure. Or the lack thereof.
(I couldn’t make this stuff up, it’s too good!)