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.

FULL METAL JACKET DIARY by Matthew Modine
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: Aug. 6, 2012

"The making of the film was infamously messy, but Modine's presentation of his story is clean and smart."
The lead of Stanley Kubrick's classic film about the Vietnam War blends sound, image and text to recall an often-exasperating experience. Read full book review >
BIZZY BEAR BUILDS A HOUSE by Nosy Crow
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: June 21, 2012

"Like the board book it is based on (Bizzy Bear, Let's Go to Work! 2012), this app has only a few pages, but each one is packed with features that encourage budding builders to linger as long as they like. (iPad storybook app. 6 mos.-3)"
Kids who love trucks and construction will identify with Bizzy as he dons his hard hat and "helps" the crew build a house. Read full book review >

LOST LARRY by Graham Nunn
by Graham Nunn, illustrated by Graham Nunn, developed by Wasabi Productions
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: March 7, 2012

"Clean, simple, seamless—just right for the nursery-school set or children with special needs. (iPad storybook/dexterity app. 1-3)"
A little green lizard will trail a fingertip home in this mini-Odyssey, the third of Larry's interactive outings. Read full book review >
COLORS THAT LULI LOVES by Rotem  Omri
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: June 7, 2012

"Luli's love of colors comes across as both genuine and infectious. (iPad storybook app. 18 mo.-5)"
An appropriately bright primer on the major colors, this tour through the rainbow seems ideally suited to toddlers learning to associate words with objects. Read full book review >
SAFFY LOOKS FOR RAIN by Paola  Opal
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: Aug. 3, 2012

"That small splat aside, the app beautifully illustrates how a simple story, well presented, can be simply refreshing. (iPad storybook app. 1-4)"
A baby giraffe's search for a rain cloud reveals something even more exciting than rain. Read full book review >

THE CHICKEN AND THE EGG by Allan  Plenderleith
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: April 30, 2012

"Flo and her unusual offspring easily capture readers' hearts in this story of faith and love. Not bad for a chicken who can't lay eggs. (iPad storybook app. 3-8)"
A cluck-worthy story about a chicken with magical maternal instincts succeeds with flashes of visual wit and a lovable main character. Read full book review >
GOODNIGHT SAFARI by Luciana Navarro  Powell
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: Jan. 11, 2012

"A simple, lovely lullaby. (iPad storybook app. 1-4)"
A mellow bedtime book about baby animals preparing to sleep. Read full book review >
MR. ROBOT by San San
illustrated by San San, developed by Looda Studio
IPAD BOOK APPS
Released: Jan. 20, 2012

"Not particularly therapeutic, but the art and the plot are engaging—as is the translation, which is so consistently amusing that the awkwardness may well be intentional. (iPad storybook app. 10-14)"
A strange but beguiling mix of surreal storytelling and lighthearted psychological advice. Read full book review >