Although this app isn’t doing anything radically different, its simple design, attractive artwork and excellent narration...

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ANIMAL ALPHABET BOOK

While animal alphabet apps are proliferating like bunny rabbits, this app’s clean design makes it stand out from the throngs.

Using a square shape that echoes familiar board books, this alphabet app combines effective narration, appealing illustrations and familiar animals to help young children learn their ABCs. With only a few exceptions, the animals are likely to be familiar to toddlers, ranging from an alligator to a bear to a turtle. The digital illustrations have a cartoon quality, but there’s a real sweetness to them. The soothing palette and lack of animation keeps the energy subdued. Straightforward setting controls allow young readers or an adult to choose the narration style and the character voice (options include a 5-year-old girl, an 8-year-old girl or a preschool teacher). All of the narrators are effective, letting young readers identify with the voices, although it’s too bad there isn’t a male narrator as well. Users swipe between screens to move sequentially through the alphabet or double-tap to bring a new letter to the screen in random order. The touch screen is a bit oversensitive, and this may frustrate young readers trying to activate the random feature.

Although this app isn’t doing anything radically different, its simple design, attractive artwork and excellent narration make it an effective way to share the ABCs with babies and preschoolers . (iPad alphabet app. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 11, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Anna and Ava LLC

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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THE GOING TO BED BOOK

From the Boynton Moo Media series

Preserving the look of the classic board book—even to the trim size and rounded corners—this makeover folds new into old in such inventive ways that it may take more than a few passes to discover all the interactive features. Aboard a ship that rocks in response to a tilt of the tablet a set of animal passengers bounce belowdecks. First they take a bath featuring user-created bubbles, and then they brush their teeth using water so hot that the whole screen hazes up with wipe-able “steam.” Pajama-clad, all then wobble—or, tweaked by a finger, rocket—back outside for a bit of exercise before bed. (Readers control this part by twirling the moon.) In the finest animation of all, every touch of the night sky in the final scene brings a twinkling star into temporary being. Along with making small movements that resemble paper-engineered popup effects, Boynton’s wide eyed passengers also twitch or squeak (or both) when tapped. And though they don’t seem particularly sleepy or conducive to heavy lids, an optional reading by British singer Billy J. Kramer (whose well-traveled voice also pronounces each word individually at a touch), backed by soothing piano music, supplies an effectively soporific audio. “The day is done. / They say good night, / and somebody / turns off the light.” This is as beautiful as the developer’s earlier PopOut! Peter Rabbit while styling itself perfectly to Boynton's whimsy. (Ipad board-book app. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 7, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Loud Crow Interactive

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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A happily multisensory exploration.

NOISY FARM

From the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series

Farm animals make realistic noises as youngsters press embedded tactile features.

“Pat the cow’s back to hear her ‘Moo!’ ” Readers can press the fuzzy, black circle on a Holstein cow to hear its recorded noise. This formula is repeated on each double-page spread, one per farm critter (roosters, piglets, lambs and horses). Using stock photography, several smaller images of the animals appear on the left, and a full-page close-up dominates the right. The final two pages are a review of the five farmyard creatures and include a photo of each as well as a review of their sounds in succession via a touch of a button. While the layout is a little busy, the selection of photos and the tactile elements are nicely diverse. The text is simple enough for little ones, encourages interaction (“Can you baa like a lamb?”) and uses animal-specific vocabulary (fleece; mane). The sister title, Noisy Trucks (978-1-58925-609-5), follows much the same format, but, here, the stars are big rigs, monster trucks, fire trucks, backhoes and cement mixers. While the photos will thrill the vehicle-obsessed, the noises are less distinctive, save the fire truck’s siren. The facts about each type of vehicle provide just enough information: “A fire truck has a loud siren, ladders to climb, and hoses that spray water.” Despite the age recommendation of 3 years and up suggested on the back cover, the construction (with the battery secured by screw behind a plastic panel) looks sturdy and safe enough for younger readers.

A happily multisensory exploration. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58925-610-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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