Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Top Apps for 2011 - School Library Journal's list, part 1 (ages 2 - 10)

I'm finding the hardest thing about book apps for kids is discovering ones that are really good. That's why I was happy to see that the School Library Journal came out with a list of their favorite apps for 2011. I'm going to divide their list into age groups. Today, I'll share their apps that work for younger kids (ages 2 - 10). Tomorrow, I'll share the apps they're recommending for tweens and teens.

1. Pat the Bunny (Random House / Smashing Ideas Inc.). I haven't had a chance to see this app - on the face of it, it seems so odd that Pat the Bunny is an app. But I've heard from many places that this app is engaging with perfect age-appropriate interactive elements. It's a difficult balance to achieve, and I'm looking forward to trying this out with my young nephew.

2. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (Moonbot Studios): this app is truly captivating, in my opinion. As I wrote in the SLJ review on their blog Touch and Go, "With a stunning combination of computer animation, interactive features, and traditional picture-book elements, William Joyce and Moonbot Studios have developed an enchanting story about the power of books. Based on their award-winning short film, this production sets the bar high for picture-book apps." Indeed - my 7 and 10 year old both read this book over and over again this summer.

3. Spot the Dot (Ruckus Media): David Carter's app combines his creative books with a find-and-seek game. Preschoolers and kindergartners will love searching for the hidden dot, following the progressively more difficult challenges with each turn of the page. I am fascinated by this blend of a book and a game. Each time you open this app, the dot changes its hiding place. We had a lot of fun with this app!

4. Hildegard Sings! (One Hundred Robots) I can't wait to get this app by Thomas Wharton. Betsy Bird of Fuse#8 nominated it for the Cybils Book App Award, and says that it's hilarious. Here's SLJ's description: "Hildegard, a flamboyant hippo, works as a singing waitress, but dreams of becoming an opera star. When she croons off-key, listeners experience it firsthand. Add to that flashes of melodramatic lightning, orchestra music, amusing interactive features, and a few games, and you have a flat-out funny, immensely entertaining theatrical production that hits all the right notes."

5. Cinderella: A 3-D Fairy Tale (Nosy Crow) has been a big hit both with students at Emerson and here at home. Of course kids love this story, but Nosy Crow gives it a fresh new multimedia twist with great illustrations, bouncy interactive characters, and fun dialog bubbles that pop up when you touch the characters. This has definitely been one of our favorites of the year.

Tomorrow, I'll share the apps that the School Library Journal has recommended for tweens and teens. I don't know these apps as well, so am looking forward to exploring them!

©2011 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books.

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