The apps recommended below were developed within the last two years. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.
A Present for Milo by Mike Austin (Ruckus Mobile Media)
Kitten Milo chases a mouse until they reach—surprise!—a birthday party. Clever interactive elements and crisp sound effects accentuate the cleanly drawn pictures and simple text.
The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton (Boynton Moo Media/Loud Crow Interactive)
This adaptation honors the original board book while adding just the right amount of pizzazz with smart interactivity, Billy J. Kramer’s soothing narration, and gentle background music.
Spot the Dot by David A. Carter (Ruckus Mobile Media)
In this concept-learning app, users search for colored dots hidden in increasingly complex, kaleidoscopic screens of bright shapes.
Freight Train by Donald Crews (Curious Puppy)
Like the book, this app offers a simple, logical presentation of concepts; users explore many-hued train cars (each with a different purpose) to reveal cargo, staff, and stock.
Peekaboo Forest by Charley Harper (Night & Day Studios)
Part concept book, part game, this app reconfigures wildlife artist Harper’s work into a series of seasonal forest settings. Touch a peeking-out tail or ear to reveal a forest creature and its name.
Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt (Random/Smashing Ideas, Inc.)
Inspired by the lift-the-flap classic, this app for offers new opportunities to play with Paul, Judy, and Bunny. Perky, clear instructions help pre-readers navigate the retro-illustrated activities.
The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone; illus. by Michael Smollin (Callaway Digital Arts/Sesame Workshop)
Grover, attempting to contain the “monster” lurking at story’s end, tempts readers to explore. The frantically animated muppet, spot-on narration, and humorous sound effects add to the fun.
Cinderella: A 3-D Fairy Tale (Nosy Crow)
The familiar tale is enhanced with cheeky humor, child narrators, and thoughtful interactivity. A friendly robin suggests interactive opportunities, plays hide-and-seek, and offers commentary.
The Three Little Pigs: A 3-D Fairy Tale (Nosy Crow)
This retelling is faithful to the traditional tale while adding a few original touches. The interactive features are clever, and the narration by child readers refreshingly unaffected.
Pop-Out! The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (Loud Crow Interactive)
Potter’s original text and illustrations are re-imagined as a digital pop-up book, with characters animated by tabs and wheels. Interactivity contrasts cheekily with gentle narration and music.