We’ve always been big fans of storybook apps. We think that they are great tools for teaching our juniors many important lessons. Understandably, because we’ve reviewed many book apps in the past, many developers came to us with some lovely digital books. This week, I’m going to share three that I have personally tried and found interesting, but haven’t gotten around to showcase on the blog: Alfie, Haathi, and The Magic Bioscope, Sneak a Snack, and Cutie Bear.
Alfie, Haathi and The Magic Bioscope
I have always been especially fond of apps that introduce kids to the cultures of the world, and our first app on this list is exactly that. Created by Growl Media with the intention to teach kids the cultures and languages of the world, Alfie, Haathi and The Magic Bioscope follows an Indian boy, Alfie, who is best friends with a baby elephant called Haathi.
When the two of them discover a dusty old box that is said to show them the world, Alfie and Haathi are transported into a magical land, but they lost each other during the process. Now Alfie must go on an adventure to find his best friend, and along the way learn all about bioscopes, making new friends, and discover the meaning of true friendship.
Alfie, Haathi and The Magic Bioscope is an excellent read. The tale is unique, and nicely written to boot. I really enjoy the exquisite illustrations and animations (touch Haathi to hear him trumpet!), the professionally recorded narration, and the custom background audio (which, by the way, was created by acclaimed Bollywood music producer Ram Sampath). I also love that you can jump to specific pages in the story using an old-school style toy movie viewer.
Alfie, Haathi and The Magic Bioscope is free to download for both iPhone and iPad. This free version only gets you as far as the first six pages, though. To get the full story -- 25 pages long in its entirety -- a single in-app purchase for $2.99 is required. As far as I can tell, though, it is well worth the money.
Sneak a Snack
We’ve seen plenty of books that feature 3D graphics (StoryToys’ 3D pop-up books come to mind), but Sneak a Snack takes it to a whole new level. This amusing app features an immersive 3D illustration on every page, and you can tilt the iPad to reveal more of the world. It’s an interesting effect, and one that will surely keep young readers ages 3+ engaged.
The story of Sneak a Snack itself follows Alex, a young boy with a big appetite, who finds his giant snack missing. He conducts a series of interviews with three suspects -- his pets cat, hamster, and bird -- to find out who committed this silly crime. Will Alex find out who stole his snack?
Like many digital books, Sneak a Snack is filled with imaginative and interactive elements. In addition to being able to tilt the device to reveal more of the illustrations, readers can also tap on many of the elements on each page to see little animations. The app comes with options to Read Alone or Read to Me, the latter of which features a splendid, emotive narration by a young boy. The story is available in both English and French.
Sneak a Snack does not contain ads or in-app purchases.
I think most children love teddy bears, for they are cute and cuddly. However, Cutie Bear hates being called cute -- he has ferociousness inside him like other bears! One night, when his caretaker Layla is asleep, Cutie Bear sneaks out of the house. He travels around the world in a hot air balloon, hoping to find other bears in the wild. But does being brave mean you can’t be cute?
Perhaps the cutest app on this list, Cutie Bear is a lovely tale that will capture the hearts of juniors ages 6+. The app features adorable illustrations on every page, as well as interactive elements to keep young readers engaged. For example, they can listen to Cutie Bear’s dinosaur plush friend as it roars, discover the stars in the Great Dipper constellation, launch Cutie Bear’s hot air balloon into the sky, and even help Layla calm down through a thunder storm by holding the iPad close their heart.
As juniors go through this 25-page long story, they can also learn a little about real bears: the polar bear, black bear, and grizzly bear. Some things that juniors will discover include each bear’s Latin name, physical appearance, food preference, and habitat.
It is unfortunate that Cutie Bear does not have the option to Read to Me, which means younger juniors will have to get parents to read the story to them. However, if your juniors are already starting to read, the story should be easy enough to follow.
Cutie Bear does not contain ads or in-app purchases.
Cutie Bear is available for iPad
Get it on the App Store: iPad
That’s it, folks! That was the three storybook apps that I discovered for you this week. Hopefully, you will find something to your liking. As always, don’t forget to tweet us or leave a comment on our Facebook page if you do!