Best Book Apps of 2013

MIDNIGHT FEAST by Lynley Stace
Kirkus Star
by Lynley Stace, illustrated by Lynley Stace, developed by Slap Happy Larry
Released: July 30, 2013

"Beautiful, haunting and completely original, Roya's tale is a 12-course meal of intelligent storytelling. (activities, reading notes) (iPad storybook app. 9-16)"
An intricate, sophisticated and dreamy story of a teen's hunger for not only food, but the world she's built in her imagination. Read full book review >
BEAN'S NIGHT by Sarah Hines Stephens
Released: Oct. 20, 2013

"Not as chewable as the originals, but the enhancements are expertly integrated rather than just tacked on and will welcome rather than overwhelm the target audience. (iPad storybook app. 6 mos.-2)"
Comfy-cozy digital version of a board book (one of a 1998 trio) featuring a black cat and a squeaky toy mouse. Read full book review >

Kirkus Star
by Sutu, illustrated by Sutu, developed by BighART
Released: May 24, 2013

"Dazzling. (includes three 'making of' featurettes) (iPad graphic-novel app. 6-10)"
In an electric mix of live video clips, CGI effects and neon-hued comics pages, young Aborigines have exciting adventures both in Western Australia's Pilbara Desert and in outer space. Read full book review >
LOCOMOTIVE by Maciej Szymanowicz
Kirkus Star
illustrated by Maciej Szymanowicz, developed by Big Rabbit
Released: Sept. 13, 2013

"Children lucky enough to encounter this app will understand why certain adults mourn the demise of the night mail, the branch line and the narrow gauge. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)"
A completely delightful interactive ride on an old train full of surprises. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 12, 2013

Canine explorer Millie here builds a time machine to avoid running late with a friend's birthday gift, but she soon finds herself chased by a baby T-Rex. Read full book review >

A DAY IN THE MARKET by May Tobias-Papa
Released: Feb. 15, 2013

"Based on an award-winning picture book from the Philippines, this charming app brings the sights, smells and tastes of a traditional Filipino market to a wide audience. It's easy to see why this little girl is so happy to visit it. (iPad storybook app. 3-6)"
This bilingual storybook app lovingly depicts a young Filipino child's first visit to the market with her grandmother. Read full book review >
Released: March 28, 2013

"Perhaps it's time to chime in on her rallying cry: 'Boycott dinosaur lunch boxes! No more dinosaur books at story time!' As if—but she makes a strong case. (iPad informational app. 6-8)"
For children (and grown-ups) who are sick of dinos, dinos, dinos 24/7, here's a plea from "Meg Atherium" to remember the giant prehistoric mammals. Read full book review >
I LOVE MY DAD by Anna Walker
by Anna Walker, illustrated by Anna Walker, developed by SnappyAnt
Released: May 30, 2013

Gently rhyming narration follows Ollie the zebra and his father as they spend a day together cooking, going to the park, painting a fence and reading a story at bedtime.

The delicate illustrations in gray and white with highlights of color are simply and effectively animated with no extra clutter to take away from the charm of the original book (2010). Tapping the characters starts them walking, riding bikes, swinging and so on, with the overall effect enhanced by realistic sounds and refreshingly high-quality, original music. Ollie's ascent of the tree full of singing birds is particularly noteworthy; each bird is gently animated, and Ollie's father watches with a smile from a lower branch. The littlest ones will love it when Ollie hides under a blanket and then pops out to shout "Boo!" in classic peekaboo fashion. Although easy page turns and an index page option are available, there is unfortunately no option to turn the narrator off and read it aloud. [Editor's note: "read to myself" option added in version 1.1, Nov. 22, 2013.]

Simple enough for preschoolers to enjoy independently, but like the subject itself, this app will be enjoyed most when shared together. (iPad storybook app. 2-5)Read full book review >