by LLC “Kinderbook”

As summer nears, parents and educators will find readily available a list of recommended “summer reading” on school district and library webpages. Although it may be summer and school is out, ones love of reading should not disappear. Whether you are in school or out, reading should be apart of your daily routine. The way society reads has certainly changed over the years. Several years ago, in order to get access to the latest collection of books, individuals had to visit their local bookstore or library. Today’s bookstore or library has a very different feel, as you can visit it virtually now as an app on your mobile device or from your home computer via a web browser. Whether you are a MAC or PC person, everyone is familiar with Apples virtual library, iBooks. It is equipped with a large collection to choose from ranging in Arts & Entertainment, Parenting, Textbooks, and Science & Nature books. You might be wondering, what category do children’s literature fall under? Well wonder no more! As of late, we were introduced to the developers from LLC “Kinderbook”. Kinderbook apps is a team of unusual elves – a Commander, Librarian, Protector, and a Software Engineer. Together they launched back in April of this year KiddoBook. KiddoBook is the child’s version of a virtual/downloadable library much like iBook is for adults. It is compatible with your iPad device running iOS 3.2 or later. Currently, the Kiddobook central library app can be downloaded to your iPad in six different languages. Encourage your child ages 3-8 to love all types of books from fantasy, educational books and both classical and new stories with this free download.

Come turn the pages of this very kid friendly application today! Their logo is an adorable, waving book named Kinderbook. His manual, Kinderbook: The Manual, is the first book on your new bookshelf. As a parent or an educator, if questions or problems arise, be sure to visit this eye catching manual. Their clever “manual” is the help or information button as seen in other applications. Once the virtual library, Kiddobook app has been downloaded for free, users will then be able to build their library. Start your library off with two free books, Marlene: Just Another Princess and Two Frogs. Additional ebooks can be stacked as in-app purchases for only .99¢. If unsure if your son/daughter will enjoy a particular title, simply click on the book jacket and preview a brief description and sampling of pages. By applying this preview feature, it avoids the “oops, I didn’t mean to buy that or I didn’t know what it was going to be about” scenarios. With regular updates and more titles arriving soon, developers are “making sure young readers are having fun while learning to appreciate traditional human values.”

Books can be experienced in a variety of formats. Depending on your child’s reading level, they can be subtitled and read by professional actors, read by a parent or the child themselves. Each page is filled with beautiful illustrations, a variety of colorful details and vocabulary and lessons to be learned. It is important to note that those books viewed on your Kiddobook app are only interactive with the turn of every page. Navigate the story from beginning to end at your own pace as you stop to discussion various types of questions or predictions. Unlike other books read via your mobile device, Kiddobooks does not offer the option of highlighting words as they are read, however, it would certainly be a suggestion we would love to see added in a future update.  For this review we downloaded both free ebooks, however, one book was on the top shelf, while the other was at the bottom.  Is there anyway that all downloaded books could be organized together on one’s shelf?  A great interactive idea to get the readers involved with organizing their own bookshelf would be to allow users to drag and drop books into place.  An interesting way to make your bookshelf your own. Users could simply drag and drop books according to their favorites titles or story lines.

Overall, we loved exploring KiddoBook for our  iPad device.  It is not unusual that a child will model what they see their parent(s) doing as they explore their mobile device.  There is no need to stuff your travel bag, book bag or tote with tons of heavy books anymore.  Instead, stuff your KiddoBook app virtual bookshelf with a variety of genre.  Your back will thank you!   If you would like to learn more about LLC “Kinderbook”, please visit their support page here.  If the adults get access to iBooks, then why not add a similar, kid friendly version called KiddoBook to your iPad device today for free!  To begin downloading, simply click here.

This review will also be featured on Fun Educational Apps site along with several other detailed app reviews.

Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection #1

Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection #1

By Oceanhouse Media

Dr. Seuss is one of the most beloved children’s author that I know of.  His books were written for the youngest of new readers, but are still being implemented and shared within the higher elementary schools.  When our school meets as a large community, book sharing and personal connections are usually the key to our conversations.  Many of Dr. Seuss’ books have been apart of our community meetings as they can spark connections to real life.  When you visit any popular book store, you might notice that a collection of Dr. Seuss’ books are being sold in hard cover.  Well, now those same collections that are found in hard cover can be accessible via your mobile device, thanks to the efforts of Oceanhouse Media.  With the recent launch to the Apple Store, Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection #1, you can now choose to read many books while on the go.  With no surprise, this book series was ranked #9 in the Paid iPad Book Apps store as of February, 2012.  This first series includes: The Cat in the Hat, The Foot Book, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Fox in Socks, and Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?

Applicable2U has reviewed a number of books converted to mobile device from Oceanhouse Media.  With each return visit or new download of a book by this development group, reading time with my son is enjoyable for all those participating.  As he nears the 1st grade, his reading abilities are certainly improving and the various reading opportunities that those hardcover turned mobile book apps are providing him are amazing.  According to their iTunes description, this book series offers some new features only OMBooks will include: “professional narration, background audio and enlarged artwork for each scene.  To promote reading in young children, individual words are highlighted as the story is read and words zoom up when pictures are touched.” Navigation between books is very user friendly and will provide a different experience each time a book is read.  Even before a book is opened, users have a character choice screen.  With brilliant resolution, the character chosen will fill with clear, crisp colors and its coordinating book cover will appear center stage. Like most book apps, young readers have three ways that stories can be read: Read It Myself, Read to Me, or Autoplay. Each experience has a valid reason for choosing as your little one develops their reading skills.

With each of these reading experiences come some amazing features. In all three modes of reading, young readers won’t have a problem trying to figure out where they are on the page.  Their eyes can navigate from left to right  as words are highlighted as they are being read.  In the “read it myself” and “read to me” modes, readers can tap objects on the page and the narrator will announce what it is and where it can be found within the text on that page.  On some rare occasions, you may even tap an object and a new vocabulary word that is not in the text will appear.  A wonderful way to encourage language, details and descriptions.  The autoplay mode has this feature as well, although it doesn’t seem to flow as nicely since the autoplay mode is like watching a movie and there didn’t appear to be a stop/pause option. Interactively, pages can be read, tapped, swiped and even heard as sound effects are added in here and there.   Another great feature that we like about this book series is the resume or start from beginning option.  If you have read any of Dr. Seuss’ hard cover books, then you know that some of them are rather long.  If your nightly routine begins late one evening or you only have time to read a little, then don’t panic.  OMBooks knows that you have left a book and puts a magical, almost virtual like bookmark in its place.

Spending time reading is critical!  Reading can now happen in so many different ways and our children need us to model those behaviors. Oceanhouse Media Books currently has this under control.  Someone might say, why should I pay $11.99 for the mobile version of Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection #1?  Why not, most families, classrooms or library book corners have them as hard cover books.  Oddly enough, you spend just as much money for those, if not more.  With schools transitioning to 1:1 experiences or that have mobile devices for the classroom, why not spend the money?  Books won’t get ruined or ripped. Children of all ages, learning styles and reading levels can be accommodated.  With this download, now all five of these amazing stories can be easily carried and won’t be left behind.  If you would like to learn more about this or any other book applications that Oceanhouse Media Books has to offer, please visit their website here.  Dr. Seuss books are applicable to you, so begin downloading this first collection series today by simply clicking here to access it in your iTunes library.

Real Friends vs. the Other Kind


Real Friends vs. the Other Kind

by Electric Eggplant

As children become of school age, they will struggle and succeed at many things.  Throughout your child’s academic years, they will travel along a variety of roads, both bumpy and smooth.  Such roads will provide them a number of experiences both academically and socially.  With their many years of professional experiences, David and Annie Fox of Electric Eggplant have developed a series of books, Middle School Confidential for a variety of platforms – iTunes App Store, NOOK Color and Tablet, Kindle Fire, and other Android tablets.  Their latest addition, Book 2 of the series is called Real Friends vs. the Other Kind, and will be available first on the iTunes store as an iPad app soon. If you are already familiar with the work/writing that the Middle School Confidential book series can and has done for your student or child, then you will be pleased to read our  review of this latest series.

If you have a child(ren) or student(s) that struggles to see the enjoyment in reading books or making “real” friends, then Book 2 – Real Friends vs. the Other Kind is the way to go.  With its untraditional way of reading a chapter book, as it is presented in a comic book format, youngsters from late elementary to middle school will be able to make personal connections. These connections will be made as they follow the trials and tribulations of characters: Chris, Michelle, Mateo, Jen, Jack, Abby and the newest addition to the clan, Monique.  Whether you are a boy or a girl between the ages of 10-14,  you can be certain that you will be faced with such issues as: bullying, put downs, friendships of all kinds and many doubts of how you fit into their social group.   As a parent or educator attempts to talk to their child or students about such social issues they may push back.  Not to worry, visit the app’s information button and click on the About this App tab.  Here educators and parents will have access to a hidden gem.  Through our exploration, Applicable2U found that when we tapped the images on this screen that it linked to two very helpful resources:  an Expert Author Podcast for Parents and a Free Leader’s Guide that can be downloaded for educators.

As a student, I wish such a product was at my disposal as I struggled through my “tween” years.  Regardless, as the technology specialist to children just entering into those precious years and as a parent that will one day have a son questioning his confidence and his friendships, this series will certainly come in handy.  In a very user friendly manner, users will have access to 8 non threatening chapters that will spark connections, communication and a sense of ease.  It is time to empower, according to one of the books characters, Chris, “You can count on your real friends.  And they’ve gotta be able to count on you too!”  Topics will range from Real Friends, Should I or Shouldn’t I, Worried About a Friend?, So-Called Friends, and Making New Friendsto name a few.  As a parent, counselor or educator, navigate at your own pace and integrate chapters that work for those students you work with. The social piece of growing up and fitting in is hard enough, luckily Annie Fox has been working with children for over 30 years and her experiences for supporting you certainly shine through in her hardcover and book apps across all devices.

Making “real” friends is so challenging in the late elementary to middle school years.  With this educational book, Applicable2U can truly see how it can be integrated into any guidance counselor’s lesson plan.  At our school we have a program called lunch bunch groups.  During these group lunch sessions, our guidance counselor works on a variety of social, organizational and behavioral issues.  Knowing that problem solving of some kind is our counselors main objective,  Electric Eggplant wanted to extend the lines of communication one step further.  Real Friends vs. the Other Kind has recently added a new component, interactive quizzes within three of the eight chapters.  These interactive quizzes will provide your child or student two modes of questioning: true/false and multiple choice.   Within Chapter 2: Friendship Dilemma’s the “teacher” will only share one question at a time.  As you review all choices and select how you might deal with a certain situation, both adults and young adults will be amazed at the dialogue that it will spark.  Immediately your selection will be graded with a right or wrong answer and a clear explanation will be provided for both.  However in Chapter 5: So-Called Friends and Chapter 8: Making New Friends, here problem solvers will be asked 5-10 “what if” scenario questions of either multiple choice or true/false format.  Simply tap your answer(s) and it will be highlighted. Applicable2U is looking forward to seeing these  “end of chapter” quizzes in action with multiple devices as they play a role in what we like to call “lunch bunch” groups.  Honesty at its best!

Applicable2U gives Middle School Confidential 2: Real Friends vs. the Other Kind two thumbs up!  This is a series not to be missed.  If you would like to learn more about Electric Eggplant, please visit the following websites to learn more – development homepage, Free Spirit Publishing or the Middle School Confidential homepage.  To get your hands on a wonderful social and communication building app, then click here to access Real Friends vs. the Other Kind in your iTunes library today!

Picture Me Christmas Cutie

Picture Me Christmas Cutie

by Oceanhouse Media

How often do you hear your child saying, mommy/daddy, look at me.  Take a picture of me!  Well with the help of technology and Oceanhouse Media, your little one will be screaming “cheese” when they know they can actually be a part of a story!!  Recently launched for this holiday season, Picture Me Christmas Cutie, a creative book about none other than your little cutie all decked out for the holiday festivities.  With the help of your devices  camera and a library of photos, your son or daughter can be one of Santa’s elves, a Christmas bear, the next Frosty the Snowman, a mouse, or even one of Santa’s reindeers.  Currently being offered at an introductory price, .99¢, this personalized book can be experienced on your iPhone, iTouch or iPad device running iOS 3.1 or later.  With high quality photography as the artwork, life like sounds and a variety of animation, children ages 1-5 will experience a variety of emotions as they hear or read this story.

Applicable2U has reviewed a number of books by Oceanhouse Media and will continue to be a repeat downloader of their applications.  As a parent, this development group incorporates a number of features that will appeal to many.  Immediately viewers will notice how this universal app takes advantage of the sharpest, most vibrant resolution capabilities of your Apple device.  With the ability to add up to eight photos, personalizing this interactive book could not be easier.  Choose the camera button and readers will be able to take a new or use an older photo which is stored in the photo gallery.  Once chosen, photos can be dragged to reposition, pinched to zoom in/out, and rotated if necessary. Each reading experience can be different.  Photos can be replaced, not incorporated this time around and can include all members of your family.  Make Picture Me Christmas Cutie the next “Who Loves Me” book for your littlest of ones.  Although they may be too young to understand the words, familiar faces all dressed up will certainly make an impression.  Once they see themselves and their family members as they turn from page to page, the smiles and laughter that you and your child will experience as they become a Christmas cutie will be priceless!  It will become a part of your holiday nightly routine.

For those emerging readers, Picture Me Christmas Cutie  at first glance it may appear childish as the main characters are babies with their cooing and giggling sounds, however, it is so much more than those adorable sounds that a baby makes.  In the palm of their hands it becomes an interactive leveled book.  As the story is wonderfully narrated, pre-literacy skills are incorporated as words are highlighted which guides them from beginning to end.  To become a successful reader, emerging readers begin with leveled or staged books, similar to Picture Me Christmas Cutie as it incorporates repetition and may require a picture to text connection.  While listening to the narrator, young readers will be able to interact with objects in such ways as: dragging and eating a cookie or licking a lollipop, and make connections with those toys that are in Santa’s Workshop.

Read Picture Me Christmas Cutie with the help of the narrator or turn the sound off and read it yourself.  Regardless of how it may appear, it is an interactive book for  non-readers and new ones too!  My little cutie wanted to experience this book in a variety of ways and over and over again.  The pleasure that he got out of reading and seeing himself as part of a book was worth the download.  If you would like to learn more about Oceanhouse Media and the other applications that they have to offer, please visit their website here.  To begin making your own interactive Christmas cutie, click here to add to your iTunes library today.

Tales2Go – Happy Holidays

Tales2Go – Happy Holidays

by Tales2Go LLC

Our next review comes on the heels of Applicable2U’s one year anniversary.  Almost a year ago Applicable2U began this blog based on a conversation that was had with those at Tales2Go.  Through their encouragement my role as a parent and a teacher was intertwined with the app world.  So it seems fitting to be wishing Tales2Go a very happy holiday as we review their most recent update to their already well known Pandora like app for children.  If you are familiar with the original version of Tales2Go, then you know that it provides children and adults a great deal of enjoyment as they read on the go.  Since being introduced to Tales2Go, they have been awarded two very prestigious awards: Mom’s Choice Gold Award and the Parents’ Choice Gold Award(R).  Their latest creation, Tales2Go – Happy Holidays was released right before Thanksgiving, a perfect time to begin hearing the sounds and stories of the upcoming holiday season. No matter where you choose to read: in the car, at school or in the comfort of your home, Tales2Go and Tales2Go Happy Holidays are applicable to you.

When deciding on whether or not your child(ren) or students should be accessing books via your mobile device, you may want to read and share the following article – The Listening Benefits of Listening as sited on the Scholastic website.  As children hear stories via their mobile device, they are engaging and interpreting the story with the animated tones and sounds as the narrator reads.  This form of reading encourages children who typically are not found reading.  It develops their listening and comprehension skills in another format as it drives them to be more skilled readers.  This version of Tales2Go – Happy Holidays provides listeners access to a library of 20 holiday stories for a meer .99¢.  A resource filled app that will provide your “countdown to the holidays” child 30+ hours  of enjoyment.  With one simple download, the stories are now yours to keep.  This version does not require a subscription, however, after using it, readers will want more.  You will pleased to see such classical stories like: A Christmas Carol, The Night Before Christmas, or The Gift of the Magi.  The library that is offered with Tales2Go Happy Holidays will appeal to all age levels.  Stop all the bah! humbug! and take a break with your child(ren) or students to hear the story of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  Does your child love to watch Clifford the Big Red Dog on television, then come listen to the crazy things he and his friends will get into as they hear Clifford’s Christmas.

Are you stressed over all the things you need to do in the next two weeks? Then take a break with your child as you explore Tales2Go Happy Holidays. You will not regret it!  As you finish up your holiday shopping, why not add an educational app to someones list.  Gifts with a meaning, reading for a reason is what Tales2Go and Tales2Go Happy Holidays will provide.  An application that will keep giving.  If interested in seeing a full list of the authors and books available on either application, simply click here.  If you would like to learn more about Tales2Go, please visit their website here.  If you are about to embark on a short or long car ride or just need some encouragement towards reading, then begin downloading Tales2Go or Tales2Go Happy Holidays to your iTunes Library today.