Kiddobook

KiddoBook

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.

Perky Pranksters: Have Fun in the Country

Perky Pranksters: Have Fun in the Country

By Selma Mariudottir

Recently there has been some twitter chatter on what components educators and parents want to see in interactive books for their mobile devices.  Of the books that we have reviewed or previewed, there are a number of developers that have “hit the mark”.  In our opinion, an interactive mobile device book “hits the mark” when their story makes a personal connection to one’s life, sparks conversation, incorporates the development and love of reading, establishes some form of independence and is a book that keeps children, young and old, coming back for more. Recently a new series, Perky Pranksters  was brought to our attention from developer and writer, Selma Mariudottir.   This series of books was designed for children ages 4-9 years old, as it takes 3 of the most unusual friends to various geographical locations while dealing with life in general.  Perky Pranksters: Have Fun in the Country is the first within the series that is now available for your iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later.   In reading the developers website we learned that our cartoon main characters; Genie, Dapper and Rex are not only stars in a book, but they are also real stars in Selma Mariudottir’s home. Her four legged friends have become the inspiration for this series with their daily adventures and pranks.  Come see what mischievous things they could get themselves into while visiting the country.

As most of us know, cats and dogs typically do not get along. If these two species set eyes on each other, a whole lot of running is going on, with the dog usually chasing after the cat.  Interestingly enough, the main characters of Perky Pranksters: Have Fun in the County are two cats, Genie & Dapper  and Rex is their dog companion.  They are far from afraid of each other in this series, rather other animals should be afraid of what might happen when all three are in the same location.  Genie is considered the principal prankster, although fun loving, is always up to some kind of mischief and tends to learn things the hard way.  Dapper is the well-mannered feline, who at times does get involved with some tricks.  Then there is Rex, who looks just like Lassie.  Rex is a sweet addition to the family and book series who tends to be interested in everything.

Perky Pranksters: Have Fun in the Country is an interactive and creative book that is chock full of good things.  As we reviewed it, we would compare it to a chapter and activity book in one.  Your child’s experience can occur in a variety of ways.  Even before the story begins, come have some fun with Genie, Dapper and Rex, as users will be given opportunities to: Color, Play Dress Up, learn a little Musical Fun, play Rhyming Games and Record their Voices.

Coloring Book: gives users the option of five black and white pages which are scenes from the book that they can color.  Once a scene is chosen it will appear on their virtual easel with an available paint palette as well.  In addition, users have access to three thickness types of paint brushes.  Pictures created can be saved to your photo gallery by simply clicking the camera icon at the top of the page.  The green light bulb will indicate which items/objects are tapeable.  While painting if a mistake occurs simply shake your device to erase your entire page.  A note to the developers – might it be possible to include another option for erasing through an icon at the top.  At times only one things needs to be erased and some users may become frustrated that they have to start all over.

Dress Up Games: gives users the opportunity to put their silliness to the test.  Choose to dress up one or all of our fury friends.  After you have chosen which prankster to dress up, select those articles of clothing and accessories that you would to see on them.  It’s like playing real world paper dolls all over again!  A note to the developers – might it be possible to interchange articles of clothing and accessories between characters.  It might be interesting to allow users to scroll through the options and once simply drag and drop it place.  Once complete, save and print your animal paper doll to provide for an extended period of play time outside of the book.

Musical Fun: shares with users practical information on musical families, particularly the brass family.  Come hear what 5 musical voices sound like from the sounds of a tuba.  This is a very quick game as it only presents one family.  In a future update, it would be great if another family or two was added to spark the learning of those with a musical ear.

Rhyming Games – ABC: as users read Perky Pranksters: Have Fun in the Country, they will notice how the writer incorporated many forms of rhyming.  This game reinforces such word findings as a matching game.  The only addition that I would implement would be the option to hear those directions in the large green box at the top of the window.  By adding this, it will support learners of all styles.  If the correct rhyme is chosen, users will be presented with a musical reward.  In order to continue rhyming, simply click the arrow at the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

The last fun and games option is the ability to Record Your Voice.  This gaming feature seemed a bit out of context for this section.  However, could have a great deal of potential while reading the book.  If a reader has chosen to Read it Myself, it would be interesting to support their learning with a microphone on each page which would play back their voices to indicate a readers fluency or areas of difficulty.

The storyline behind the Perky Pranksters: Have Fun in the Country is very amusing and educational.  The story can be narrated by Debbie Irwin, a parent or even your child.  Pages are filled with two verses that incorporates text that rhymes on each picture along with running text at the bottom.  If choosing to read alongside the narrator, words will be highlighted so as to keep the reader focused.  As we reviewed this interactive book we equated it like being a chapter book. Follow along with our fury pranksters as they explore the country in seven entertaining comedy of errors.  It’s like watching Abbott & Costello the animal version.  A note to the developers –  because the device needs to be vertically positioned, the pages do appear rather busy.  Might it be possible to have the two verses at the top disappear once they are read.

Overall, we loved this first book in the series and are excited to see where our four legged pranksters will take us next.  If you would like to learn more about Selma Mariudottir, please visit her website here. For a simple $3.99 download to your iTunes account, you too can begin building your Perky Pranksters library of books by simply clicking here.

This review is featured on Fun Educational Apps site along with many other detailed reviews.

Nora’s Crabby Day

Nora’s Crabby Day

by PicPocket Books

What is your mood like today?  Have you woken up feeling blue, unbeknownst to you? Did your day start off great, but an unfortunate situation turned that right around?  This is not uncommon for both adults and children.  At an early age, children will struggle with a number of new things like how to handle one’s feelings.  As parents, we like to think that we can explain and model such feelings, however, connections are not always made.  Children need things short, sweet and to the point and our words might not be the ones they want to hear.  Implementing personal connections through the use of books, both mobile or hard covered, might be just what you are looking for. Released back at the end of March by PicPocket Books is Nora’s Crabby Day.  It was written and illustrated by Jan and Todd Graveline and can be viewed on your iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later. Come walk in Nora’s shoes for just one day and see how her day starts off gloomy but ends with a bowl full of joy!

We have reviewed a number of interactive books by PicPocket Books and are pleased to add Nora’s Crabby Day to our iPad library.  Like most interactive books, it promotes early learning as your child develops their reading skills through audio words and sounds as text is highlighted on each page.  In addition, it provides young readers the option to have it read to them or they can read it aloud on their own.  We loved how a dedication page was included to Nora Claire, the main character. “When she smiles, we smile.”  This is so true in any household full of one or multiple children.  Each page appears to be divided into two as if holding a real hard covered book.  In addition, pages magically come to life as those words narrated are visualized wonderfully from beginning to end.  Throughout the book, all participants reading will notice how the story incorporates colorful detail and the use of rhyming words. Characters and objects of all kinds; clouds, animals and food, need to turn their frowns upside down. Can Nora’s day get any worse?

Nora’s Crabby Day  is very appropriate for children as young as 2 and beyond.  Applicable2U can see it being incorporate in any home or school setting.  Pages are managed by the user, so it allows for adults and children to stop and talk about each page, to make connections to those things that Nora is going through.  Children and adults need to be made aware that having a bad day is very normal.  Whether your mood starts off bad or ends badly, tomorrow is a new day and as humans we need to find some light at the end of the tunnel.  Nora’s light was that of a warm bowl of macaroni and cheese.

To learn more about Nora’s Crabby Day or any other interactive books by PicPocket Books, please visit their website here.  For only $1.99, you too can have Nora’s Crabby Day for your iPad library by simply clicking here.

Happipets

Happipets

by Happi

Come play with letters in order to build and spell words that look like animals or imaginary creations.  Use your fine motor skills to rotate, enlarge, move and flip objects to manipulate your ABC’s as you explore in three modes: plAy, Beasts, and Create. Launched in early February, developers from Happi created Happipets, an usual approach to spelling words for your iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later.  It is designed with a younger generation in mind, however, even the oldest of children and adults will enjoy exploring.  What pets will your child create?   With 12 real animals, 12 imaginary ones and over 140 letters to build just about anything, your child will feel like they are watching an episode of Word World on PBS Kids.  Drag, drop and recognize animal names or individual letters to your workable canvas as letters turn into a picture or scene.

As you initially explore Happipets, Applicable2U would suggest that you collaboratively work with your child(ren).  As developers state in their iTunes description, this educational app is not the usual spelling app.  Regardless, with a kid friendly appearance and support systems in place, children and parents will have fun building a happipet.  Get the hang of Happipets by starting in the “plAy” mode. At the top of your canvas will be a scrolling feature which alphabetically lists your 12 real world animals.  Come play and learn about such animals as a dog, flamingo, lion or rabbit.  Amazingly letters are artistically designed in their color and detail.  With a single tap of the animals name your scroll bar will disappear and exploration can begin. The objective is to manipulate each letter around the page by enlarging, shrinking, moving, or rotating it to transform from a word to an actual animal picture.  Whether you are an adult or a child, this concept visually may be challenging, but not to worry.  At the bottom of the screen, users might find it helpful to click the “help” button.  This help feature is the giveaway to your end result, however, you will find yourself using it multiple times.

While building your animal, learn a few interesting facts about it by clicking the “information” button in the lower right hand corner of your screen.  Need to start fresh and put your letters back to default in the scroll bar, click the trash can and it will clear your canvas. To access your scroll bar, simply click the pull down tab at the top of your screen.  Users will know that a letter has been manipulated and dropped into its correct place when they hear a locking sound. After the animal has been correctly draw, an appropriate background or environment will suddenly appear.  A note to the developers – might it be possible to offer in the scroll feature a single and double tap.  The single tap could say that animals name and the double tap option could drop it on the users canvas.  Without adult supervision as it is set now, users will not know what animal they are learning to spell or create.  In addition, we would love to see an audio feature added in two areas.  First, as a user manipulates letters, it would great to hear that letter announced for letter recognition reinforcement.  In addition, we would love to see that interesting facts could be shared aloud by simply tapping a microphone icon.

As you move from playing with real animals, it is now time to play with mythological ones.  Ever heard of a delipolk or a dufou??  With those same features found in the plAy mode, come explore the Beast mode.  As we navigated our way through this round, we immediately made a connection to a science project that was done in a 5th grade class.   Students had to create an animal of their choice, but were required to explain what it was, what were its predators or prey, what adaptations were necessary for it to survive and where could it be found.  With the implementation of a drawing and word processing program, this project came to life.  As technology has changed over the years, this Beast mode would be a great update to our animal studies project. As the animal comes to life and is locked into place, take a screen shot on your iPad device by simply clicking at the same time the home and sleep button.  This screen shot can then be found in your camera roll and inserted into any document.

The last area for exploration is the Create mode.  Here users will be able to select random letters as a way to create their own pets.  Since this design is by users choice, the help button is no longer present.  However, a saving, scene and sharing feature has been added. Choose from a laundry list of letters and designs, 24 different scenes to add your animal too and the option to share your creation via Facebook and/or email.  A note to the developers – might it be possible to put a parental lock on the sharing option for the safety of those using the application.  In addition, it might be interesting to add a feature to your website that would allow Happipet application users to upload and share their creations with your followers.

Overall, Applicable2U enjoyed our exploration with Happipets.  It is an application that fits at home and at school.  It endorses creativity and the possibilities to collaborate with others in a fun way.  If you would like to contact the developers, Happi, please visit their website here.  We were encouraged to see that new letters and animals will be added for free in the next round of updates.  To add Happipets to your iPad device, please click here to begin your $1.99 download today!

Felt Board for iPad

Felt Board for iPad

by Software Smoothie

As I follow my Twitter feed, one of the latest technology trends being “tweeted” about is the educational benefits of storytelling. It has been researched by many that storytelling is an excellent teaching strategy. Amazingly it can spark student interest as it helps children create vivid mental images while activating their thinking process. Storytelling can provide many opportunities to make connections to events and concepts as a way to better understand and recall information. As of late, several educators are incorporating a more differentiated form of instruction with the help of online resources. But with so many schools going the mobile device route, storytelling is once again changing. At the beginning of March, developers from Software Smoothie released Felt Board for iPad. Currently designed for your iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later, with an update coming for those with the iPad 3. Creatively tell a real or imaginary story with the help of felt like pieces.

Felt Board for iPad caused Applicable2U to recall a personal discussion that was had with a friend and parent at the beginning of the school year. This parent was told by her daughter’s kindergarten teacher that her daughter doesn’t associate the correct colors with items, objects or people. At such a young age, why does that matter? Can children not creatively envision things? Sad, but true in some educational settings. Happily we knew Felt Board for iPad had an alternative approach, just take a look at their application icon.

Upon entering this application, users will immediately get a craft like feeling as every aspect of this educational app is created with felt. Use your fine motor and hand-eye coordination skills to develop amazing stories as you tap, drag, drop, pinch and zoom pieces into a scene. Felt Board for iPad is a very user friendly application for children young and old. It is an application that encourages all learning styles as children can work collaboratively or independently. With an Apple like dock that can appear or disappear on the left hand side, storytellers will have access to eight categories of felt objects. Categories include a large selection of backgrounds, people, articles of clothing, animals, nature, letters and numbers. Also included on ones canvas is a recycle bin for unwanted items, a camera to screen shot stories and a bottle of glue to group objects as one.

Felt Board for iPad can be implemented at home and at school. Unlike other storytelling applications, this does not include a recording or a typing feature. Stories are told through objects only. It provides an alternative method of assessment for various learning styles. As you study and read a variety of genres like fairy tales, fiction or nursery rhymes, teachers or home schoolers could connect their device to a projector and share their creations. When projected on a large screen in small or large groups, children can verbalize their stories to classmates, parents or educators. Regardless of who creates the stories, this form of storytelling encourages further discussions on the elements of a story: characters, setting, plot and such. In addition, developers also encourage users to create stories that include letters and numbers. For example, users can spell and place their name on scenes created. If working on a “letter of the week” tell a story centered around that letter. An alternative option would be as children understand numbers, tell a number story. Your child or student(s) story becomes a visual story problem to reinforce appropriate grade level operations. A note to the developers – might it be possible to save scenes within the application in addition to storing in the photo gallery. Have you also thought about adding the option of multiple scenes? By offering a saving and multiple scene feature, users that may need an extension could then sequence their stories.

Overall, Applicable2U loves what Felt Board for iPad has to offer. We are looking forward to seeing and hearing it in action with our own child. For a simple download of $1.99, let the storytelling begin. Your child will begin to make connections, build their understanding of a book read or can just tell a story with their imagination and fun. If you would like to learn more about Software Smoothie please visit their website here.  As you drag and drop objects, magically feel the softness of your story as it develops and comes alive. To begin downloading Felt Board for iPad to your iTunes library click here. You won’t regret it!