Best Book Apps of 2012


Vicky Smith, Editor

Not quite three years after the launch of the first iPad, the iPad book app market is still going strong, offering up ever-more-inventive ways to redefine “book.” Kirkus is still in the thick of things, reviewing both the good and the not-so-good. This year we broadened our coverage to include book apps for an adult audience, adding some dazzling titles for those who don’t want to share their iPads with their children. We’ve sifted through them all, including best-selling print titles that have stepped into the digital realm, classics made new with mind-bending interactions and tales created just for the tablet, building narrative and interactions seamlessly from the ground up.

We here proudly offer our selection of the best book apps of 2012, including titles that should appeal to toddlers all the way up to their grandparents and beyond. Reading and tapping has never been so good.

LEONARD by Timothy  Penner
Kirkus Star
illustrated by Timothy Penner, developed by endloop, by Ink Robin
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: March 15, 2012

"Well told, cleverly illustrated and beautifully supported with interactive surprises that make sense and are great fun, this is a stellar example of iPad storytelling. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)"
Imagination makes all the difference in this story of one boy's quest for new friends. Read full book review >
LOLA AND LUCY'S BIG ADVENTURE by Jane Jensen
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: Oct. 25, 2012

Spectacular illustrations and digital diversions drive this sweet tale of two Vermont bulldogs in search of a purpose.

Having learned that dogs are supposed to have jobs and, from a peek online, that bulldogs were bred to hold bulls' noses, Lucy and Lola embark on a cross-country quest. Read full book review >


YOU ARE STARDUST by Elin Kelsey
Kirkus Star
by Elin Kelsey, illustrated by Soyeon Kim, developed by Owlkids
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: Dec. 6, 2012

"The perfect combination of art and science to get kids engaged with nature. (iPad informational app. 5-12)"
This eloquent introduction to some very large concepts is science written like poetry. Read full book review >
PICCADILLY'S CIRCUS by Adam Larkum
Kirkus Star
illustrated by Adam Larkum, developed by Ink Robin
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: Sept. 6, 2012

"Step right up to this truly spectacular offering; it will undoubtedly delight ladies, gentlemen and children of all ages. (iPad storybook app. 2-8)"
Every element of this app shines in a story about circus performers who learn to appreciate the talents of others. Read full book review >
THE EDIBLE SUIT by Edward Lear
by Edward Lear, illustrated by Jon Higham, developed by Tizio BV
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: Feb. 23, 2012

"Smooth pans of the double-screen illustrations and interactive features that are as high in child appeal as the sidesplitting plot add up to an unusually successful crossover to the digital domain. (iPad storybook app. 6-9)"
Rapid tapping calls up cascades of pigs, pork chops and more from this lightly edited version of Lear's hilarious "The New Vestments." Read full book review >

OWL AND CAT by Edward Lear
by Edward Lear, developed by NitroLab, illustrated by Ewa Podles
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: March 9, 2012

"A triumphant blend of classic literature and tablet technology. (iPad storybook app. 2-5)"
Feline and fowl profess their love for one another in this winning adaptation of Lear's popular 1871 nonsense poem. Read full book review >
LITTLE LOST RABBIT FINDS A FAMILY by Lemniscates
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: March 31, 2012

"Brief, but loaded with appeal for younger readers and pre-readers. (iPad storybook app. 3-5)"
An abandoned bunny doesn't stay homeless for long in this understated, simply illustrated import. Read full book review >
LIL' RED by Brian  Main
Kirkus Star
by Brian Main, illustrated by Brian Main
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: Sept. 27, 2012

"In a sea of interactive homogeny, this is a rare gem. (for iPad 2 and above) (iPad storybook app. 1-5)"
A refreshingly distinctive take on the classic European fairy tale. Read full book review >