Appysmarts.com Best Apps for Young Brains
Best interactive books for kids (aged 1-6+). These books usually have at least 2 options: 'read to me' (with narrator's voice) or 'read myself', where the book can be read either by the child or by the parent.

The iPad, with a large screen is a better choice for books than the iPhone (because of the larger screen).

If you are looking for a non-specific reading 'top fives':

Top 5 interactive books for kids (includes both iPad and iPhone)

Best Apps for Young Brains - get our weekly app recommendations by e-mail!

Babel, the King - EPIC animated storybook

Babel, the King - EPIC animated storybook
by EPIC Agency

Price: free (was 3.99$)
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iPhone

Overall Score: 91/100

version reviewed: 1.1.3

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive books, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Eye-hand coordination, Interaction, Music & art, Personal & social, Understanding of the world

What it is: an interactive book (20 pages) about a grumpy cat called Babel who dreams of becoming a king.

What you do with it: read the story yourself or listen to the narration. Tilt the device, blow into the microphone, touch/pull objects on the pages for interaction (e.g. help Babel land safely on the ground using an umbrella as the parachute, blow the leaves away etc).

What we liked: the story, illustrations (excellent!), animations, interactive elements complementing the storyline, sound backgrounds and sound effects, professional narration, visual hints (helping find all interactive elements).

What we didn't like: text is not 'young reader friendly' (large blocks of text, small font, words are not highlighted). The next/previous page buttons could be in a more convenient place.

Bottom line: engaging, with excellent graphics and narration - highly recommended!

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Slibby The Snail Adventures HD

Slibby The Snail Adventures HD
by CoolAsh Studio

Price: free
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iPad

Overall Score: 89/100

version reviewed: 1.0

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive books, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Eye-hand coordination, Interaction, Language, Personal & social, Thinking & problem solving, Understanding of the world

What it is: an interactive story (12 pages long) about a snail called Slibby helping his ant friends to find their stolen food.

What you do with it: listen to the narration or read the book yourself. On each page there is a simple activity related to the text (you help Slibby find the way, move or find his friends and other characters by solving simple puzzles, mazes, collecting items etc).

What we liked: the concept, the story, extra activities perfectly complementing the story, the quiz at the end of the story (helping to 'review' the story by answering simple questions), nice illustrations and animations, professional narration, audio instructions.

What we didn't like: reading and navigation options could be better (e.g. there is no easy way to repeat the instructions or repeat the page).

Bottom line: simple but charming story with fun activities on every page.

Appysmarts


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Elmo’s Big Birthday Bash! – A Sesame Street Step Into Reading App

Elmo’s Big Birthday Bash! – A Sesame Street Step Into Reading App
by Random House Digital, Inc.

Price: 2.99$
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iPad

Overall Score: 88/100

version reviewed: 1.1

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive books, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Interaction, Language, Personal & social, Thinking & problem solving, Understanding of the world

What it is: an interactive story (3 parts, 12 pages each) with 3 extra activities for enhancing early reading skills.

What you do with it: three modes of 'reading' the story: listen to the narrator and follow the text, record and listen to the recorded narration (e.g. by a parent) or read by yourself. Touch the characters or objects on the screen for 'responses' and animations. The 'games' section contains three activities: matching letters, learning and matching letter sounds and matching rhyming words.

What we liked: funny story, excellent narration, very easy navigation and operation (including audio instructions and visual clues), excellent reading options (words are highlighted, individual words and phrases from each paragraph can be practiced separately etc. ), high educational value, helpful section with instructions and tips for parents.

What we didn't like: some of the 'interactive' elements are very basic (and could better complement the story).

Bottom line: a must-have for all Elmo fans who are just starting to read.

Appysmarts


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Cozmo's Day Off - Children's Interactive Storybook

Cozmo's Day Off - Children's Interactive Storybook
by Ayars Animation

Price: 3.99$
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iPhone + iPad

Overall Score: 88/100

version reviewed: 1.2.1

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive books, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Eye-hand coordination, Interaction, Memory, Music & art, Thinking & problem solving

What it is: an interactive book (10 pages long) with a Science Fiction twist.

What you do with it:listen to the story (or read it yourself) and interact with the objects on every page (some of them are just 'for fun' like shooting with the laser beam, some more purposeful, like a jigsaw puzzle or a musical memory game). .

What we liked: the concept, excellent 3D illustrations, extra interactive elements (over 100 items), easy operation and navigation (e.g. you can easily access every individual page), excellent reading/narration/configuration options (the best we've seen so far): the text is highlighted, there are quick buttons for repeating a paragraph, hiding the text box or recording your own narration, the pitch of the narration can be changed, narration/music volume can be adjusted separately. Very informative help/instructions section.

What we didn't like: we would love to see fewer 'fun' and more 'educational' interactive elements or puzzles. The story about a green guy who goes to work is nice but some kids it may not find it too appealing (or understandable).

General notes about our book reviews: although when reviewing books, we try not to review the story itself, the general impressions will be reflected in the Overall Score.

The Age Range assigned to books will be usually broader compared to other apps, as they can be useful for both younger (with parent/narrator reading) or older (reading on their own) kids.

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Elfishki™ Team and The Unwelcome Guest (in 3 Languages) for Advanced Kindergarten Readers

Elfishki™ Team and The Unwelcome Guest (in 3 Languages) for Advanced Kindergarten Readers
by Elka Palka Production

Price: 2.99$
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iPad

Overall Score: 86/100

version reviewed: 1.2

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive books, Early literacy, Interaction, Language, Personal & social, Thinking & problem solving, Understanding of the world

What it is: an interactive fairy tale about an Elf called Vince who delivers ice cream to the children in town with a help of his dragon.

What you do with it: read the story yourself or listen to the narration. Touch the 'lights' on the text pages for interaction (moving or sounds). Touch the interactive scenes to watch animations (e.g. Vince brushing his dragon's teeth with a mop). On each page there are 3 questions related to the page (a tool for parents for discussing the paragraph or the picture with a child).
A bonus activity - a 'look and find' interactive game (find items hidden in the scene and put them in the one of the story's character's backpack).

What we liked: beautiful story, amazing illustrations, beautiful quality animations, professional and easy to follow narration, the 'questions' aid for parents, 3 language (full) versions of the book, the bonus game.

What we didn't like: for some of the children (and parents) the specific layout of this book may not be 'natural' (as for an 'interactive' book): first you read a long paragraph of text, then you 'play' with the illustration. For the target age group (5+) most of the interactive elements may be not too inspiring or entertaining. Large blocks of text and small font don't encourage reading. We were disappointed in the way how the book ends (in terms of the 'graphical' flow of the story: after the final paragraph of text, instead of a beautiful final animated scene, you are presented with the 'credits' page.

Bottom line: beautiful, magical story with amazing illustrations and animations.

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