As a father of three and an absolute technophile, I have come to absolutely adore the amalgamation of the iPad hardware platform and the world of children’s books. I’m sure there are official educators out there saying that I am going to cause developmental problems for my children and it is the worst possible thing a parent can do to their kids. But for me, I absolutely love the platform. The positives completely outweigh any potential negatives in my opinion. So let us away on our search for Hundreds of Amazing iPad Children’s Books!
“Topic: iPad will ruin your children and make them bank robbers or worse. Discuss!”
Seriously though, the Children’s book genre is here to stay regardless of whether you hope it will or not. At the time of this blog’s publication there are already 17 different Berenstein Bears on the App store. Twenty Five Dr. Seuss books. There are over four different Disney movie read-along adaptations. And the offerings continue to grow unabated.
What I absolutely love about kid’s books on the iPad primarily is the cost. For five bucks (minus the $500 iPad I hear you heretics saying) I can get a fantastic kid’s book that takes just as much time to read as a standard 20 dollar, hard back offering. That’s 75% more ROI just from a simple dollars and cents perspective. And that doesn’t even take into account everything kids books do on the iPad today. Almost justifies the original cost of the iPad single handedly!
Most will children’s books come with two options… 1. Parental Read 2. Narrator Read. I personally enjoy reading the books and think I do WAY better than these paid professionals but I know sometimes I find myself listening along and enjoying the books with my kids. Many books today come with a touch and read option where the child can touch the pictures on the screen and the narrator will tell them what the word is for the print or the picture. Many also provide embedded coloring books or mini-games. A lot of these books also come with sound tracks of the action on the screen. (Dishes being washed, School bus pulling away… you get the idea.)
These enhancements just add to the magic of the iPad version of the original classic book in my opinion. Now I’m sure I’ll hear that I’m wrong in the comments section, and sure, there are exceptions to this general rule. But on the whole, I love experiencing children’s books via the iPad. Love it, love it!
I am not an expert in the field of authoring or book publication. But I have done a TON of downloading and think there are many parents out there in search of a good book to download. Well, to that end, I have selected some of the very best books that have been written exclusively for the iPad, or ported to the platform, and have reviewed them here for you. There are a TON of books here that I have reviewed for you mainly because you know your child the best and only you can decide what you think they will like. From Dr. Seuss, to the Berenstein bears, from Alice to Toy Story… I’ve tried to include something for even the most picky of reader. Enough pontificating – Let’s kick it off with the first book review in the pile.
Alice for the iPad – $8.99
I am very partial to Alice and Wonderland, and so a review of this epic story on the iPad is going to be difficult. I have always said that if stranded on a deserted island and if given a chance to bring two books with me, the first would be the Bible. The second would be Alice. How’s that for a pairing? Regardless, here we are with Alice & Wonderland…
Alice for the iPad was initially created as a showcase app for what Apple’s tablet could do – and how big a game changer the hardware was. And they were right. Alice single handedly created the Kid’s iPad Book market in my opinion. Regardless, is it worth the hype? Is it really worth $8.99? In a word… yes. It is. And more. I would even go so far as to say that it is BETTER than the hardback version. And as a bibliophile, that is saying something. Seriously better? Yeah, it is. Its really amazingly fantastic. But here is the make or break question… is this a kid’s book? Or is it more of an adult’s illustrated version? Well, my kids (ages 7, 5 & 3) didn’t dig it at all. It was much to random and the illustrations were too dark I think.
So in a review of the top Kid’s iPad Books where does Alice for the iPad fall? I would actually say that it is the groundbreaking grandparent for the technology, but I wouldn’t recommend it for young children. I think I would recommend it for kids that have already read it and enjoyed it, but not young kids who know nothing about Alice. You never know – they may like it, and heck, if its just for you, is that a crime? Groundbreaking technology and innovative throughout either way.
I’m going to cheat a little bit here and review several entries in one go seeing as though they are all very very similar. All kids love Dr. Seuss. This is one of the primary rules of the universe. And if they don’t there is psychological damage here that needs to be investigated. But will the Seussian classics translate to the new iPad format?
I think they do. Each of these titles don’t innovate in any way. But the narration is generally very good and the graphics are the same Seuss pen and ink brilliance you remember from your childhood. The child is also able to touch throughout the page and the names of the items splash onto the page and the word is stated by the narrator. Quickly your child will realize that they can remix the story on their own if your child as anything mine are. “Cat-Wall-Cat-Wall-Train-Ca-Wa-Tra-Wall-Wall-Wall-Wall…” You get the idea. Yeah, that can get old, but it is actually pretty cool to watch my 3 year old to begin connecting the concepts of written words and pronounced words.
Some of the better Seuss iPad books available:
The Cat in the Hat – Dr. Seuss – $3.99
Green Eggs and Ham – Dr. Seuss – $3.99
How The Grinch Stole Christmas! – Dr. Seuss – $4.99
Dr. Seuss’s ABC – Dr. Seuss – $3.99
The Sneetches – Dr. Seuss – $2.99
Hundreds of Amazing iPad Children’s Books – Disney
As much as I hate to admit it, Disney has a winner on their hands with this new story book medium. And it would seem that customers around the world agree. As of 2011 Disney had sold over a million copies of their nine read-along books. And you can experience the magic yourself with their free download of Toy Story 1. So yeah, Toy Story 1 is a free hit of crack to get you and your kids addicted. And boy does it work. TS1 lets your child color the pages, watch short video snippets from the movie, tap sound effects, narration, and even play mini-games. At first I was opposed to the mixing of the media. A book is a book is a book. But on the iPad, that doesn’t have to be the case. Sure, it’s a book, but if the point is to teach them something then there are many ways towards that objective… including reading.
From your kid’s perspective, these are going to be at the top of the chart of kid’s books on the iPad. You will be hard pressed to find a children’s book that will hold their attention better than Disney’s offering. Sure, they aren’t perfect, but if engagement is what you are looking for look no further. If you are looking for straight reading – then you probably won’t get into these titles as there is so much more going on. Depends on what you as a parent are looking for.
Toy Story Read-Along – Disney
Toy Story 2 Read-Along – Disney
Toy Story 3 Read–Along – Disney
The Princess and the Frog Read-Along – Disney
Hundreds of Amazing iPad Children’s Books – Berenstain Bears:
As a child I loved the Berenstain Bears. Tons of slap stick comedy to be had on each page and every single story seemed to be so fun. As an adult I’m even more fond of the bears because each of their stories has a deeper truth that everyone’s children should learn. Whether it’s the golden rule, the need to share, or what have you… each and every story has something that you as a parent can utilize to teach your children some of the more important lessons of life.
Never mind the art… which has been a perennial favorite for almost fifty years. Wonderful watercolors and simple India inking all goes towards evoking a bear community that even the most hardened heart could love. The same is true on the iPad – the same brightly colored water coloring are there for your enjoyment. The art has been redone for the iPad in order to allow for more complex wipes and zooms as the story progresses from paragraph to paragraph.
These books have all been done by Oceanhouse Media which also did all the Dr. Seuss books. So it seems like Oceanhouse is the new Goliath in the iPad Kid’s Books market. Not that I am complaining. They do a very good job converting these classics to this new digital age. They are simply done. Nothing extravagant here. Each of Oceanhouse’s books include a “Read to Me” option, a “Read it Myself” option and an “Autoplay” option depending on what mood you are in as a parent.
Some of the best Berenstain Bears iPad books available:
The Berenstain Bears and the Golden Rule
The Berenstain Bears Say Their Prayers
The Berenstain Bears Learn to Share – Oceanhouse Media
The Berenstain Bears Do Their Best – Oceanhouse Media
The Berenstain Bears Love Their Neighbors – Oceanhouse Media
Hundreds of Amazing iPad Children’s Books – Peter Rabbit
The perennial favorite Peter Rabbit has arrived on the iPad! The classic story and the gorgeous artwork are all here. And on top of that the iPad version has new added benefits your hardback will be jealous of. Peter Rabbit, written in 1904, is the quintessential children’s book that revolutionized the publishing industry. And now you can experience the funny little rabbit as he gets into one more sticky situation on the iPad.
Some of my favorite features of this updated version would be the added artwork laced throughout this book. The leaves that fly through the pages (reminiscent of Alice and Wonderland) the blueberries the fall and splat on the copy, it really adds an immersive quality to the book that you won’t find in the original. Your child will also will get a chance to experience the artwork in new ways with features. Pull tabs that move the characters. Wheels that rotate Peter around the page, etc. All and all, if you are big fan of classic literature and more specifically Peter Rabbit, you will not be disappointed with this app and neither will your child.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Loud Crow – $4.99
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin – Loud Crow – $4.99
Hundreds of Amazing iPad Children’s Books – The Three Little Pigs
If you want to see what collaborative story telling is really about, then The Three Little Pigs is where you want to be. The Three Little Pigs iPad app has won a number of awards in the field for its innovative technology and fantastic artwork. There are numerous Three Little Pig stories on the App Store so be careful which one you purchase because they are definitely not created equally.
The artwork is about as cute as it gets. Eschewing a realistic artistic style the artist has used a very stylized view of the standard three little pigs story. Almost a comic book style. As the characters run about the screen its enough to cause your little ones to giggle as they go. Even better yet is when the wolf falls down the chimney and burns his bottom! Your child will definitely enjoy the art throughout. You will also notice that your child will be called on to help the wolf blow down the pig’s houses by blowing into the microphone (which seems to be a bit of a moral quandary to have your child help the wolf in his attempt to eat the saintly pigs, but we won’t get into that here.) Anyway – it’s a fantastic meld of great art and wonderful technology to send the fun-o-meter clean off the charts.
The Three Little Pigs – interactive storybook – $4.99
Hundreds of Amazing iPad Children’s Books – Ultimate Dinopedia
Shew. That title is a mouthful. This isn’t so much a storybook but rather a illustrated guide to a honk’n big pile o’ dinosaurs (over 700 different dinosaurs). The artwork will make you go – woah. Well, I did anyway. The dinosaur’s color palette was taken straight out of Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. They pop clean off the page.
The app also has numerous video of the various dinosaurs in the book, but they can be kind of quirky now and again. Occasionally Quicktime will have a complete meltdown and cause the video to shutdown or the audio to shutdown. Either one will make you restart the app or even do a hard reset on your iPad to get the app working again. Which brings up an additional point, since when did we have to reboot hardback books? Right, never. So there is that in the corner for those who are against these high-tech new fangled books. But the technical glitches aside this book has to be seen to be believed.
Ultimate Dinopedia: The Most Complete Dinosaur Reference Ever – National Geographic Society – $4.99