PlayTales Gold! Kids’ Books by Playtales, S.L. – Review

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What we love…

large selection of books, personalized books, catchy songs, plenty of activities

What we’d love to see…

Books categorized by age or reading level, no pop upadvertising


High quality e-book subscription app that will delight avid readers.

Our Rating

PlayTales Gold! Kids' Books Playtales Gold is not only an e-library, but also a drawing program, a jukebox, and an activity center for kids.. In other words, it’s a virtual playroom! In this review, I will go over each feature as well as review two books from the Playtales collection.

A monthly or annual subscription will give children access to a large collection of books for ages 0-12. Most of the books come with three reading options: auto play, read to me, and read by myself. A few books do not offer these options. All the books, however, are high quality, colorful, and very interactive.

I was very excited to find that the books come in several languages including English, Spanish, German, French, Mandarin, Italian, Portuguese, and Japanese. My kids had fun listening to the stories being read in a different language. It is definitely a great way to introduce or to supplement a second language curriculum.

There are several ways for children to find books. They can browse via the featured items, by categories, or by rank. Books are ranked by the number of times it was read, by the number of times it was downloaded, or by the number of stars it is rated. A summary of the book and some page previews are also provided.

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One of the new features in Playtales Gold is the personalized story book. Currently, the only book with that feature is called After School Activities by Playtales. Children get to be the star of this book by uploading their own photos. In the story, the hero or heroine checks out all the after-school activities/clubs including karate, drama, science, photography, basketball, chess, cooking, arts and crafts, music, and dance. Each page is alive with colorful scenes and interactive objects. Each pages shows the hero and heroine trying out one of the activities and wearing outfits that go with the activity. In the end, they get to choose which activity they would like to participate in. My kids took turns customizing the character with their own photos and had blast with it! I am looking forward to seeing more personalized books in the future.

An example of a book without the three reading options is 1000 Adventures by Sebastia Serra and the Dada Company. This book follows a little boy and his adventurous imagination throughout the day. No matter what he is doing, he manages to imagine that he is off in an adventure somewhere else. For example, as he drives to school with his parents, he imagines that he is in outer space. When the reader clicks on the different items in the scene, each one is transformed into the way the boy imagines them. In this example, their car becomes a space ship, a dog becomes a robot dog with a jet pack, and so on. Clicking on the objects again transforms them back into the way they really are. This books was so much fun to read with the kids and they definitely go in adventure when they read this one!

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There are currently 8 sing-along songs in English, 6 of which are also translated and sung in Spanish. These are all familiar songs including Row, Row, Row Your Boat, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. Parents beware! The songs are so fun and catchy your kids may be bound to play it over and over again. I know because my daughter sang along with “I’m A Little Teapot” several times in a row day after day after day!

The activities are based on some of the books in the Playtales collection. Activities include puzzles, find the difference, matching, and picture hunt. Puzzles and matching pairs also offer various difficulty levels to chose from.

Although the menu button just says “Coloring”, there are actually two activities to choose from: Coloring and Free Drawing . The Coloring mode contains several pictures that kids can color as they choose. The Free Drawing mode is a simple drawing pad with various tools including brushes, pencils, crayon, stamps, and fingerprinting. A simple touch of a button saves their artwork in the camera roll.

If you currently do not have a paid subscription to Playtales Gold, there is pop-up advertisement that covers a large part of the screen right when you launch the application. While I appreciate being notified of a sale going on, I feel that an intrusive pop-up such as this should not be in apps geared for children. Children should be able to enjoy their app, paid or not, without having to exit an advertisement banner. I would prefer that reminders to purchase a subscription or sales notifications be done within the info section of the app.

I would like to see the books categorized by age or reading level. I think this would make it so much easier for older children to find books more appropriate to their age instead of having to click on each book to see what age level it was written for.

One of the new features that Playtales is supposed to have with the newest update is the read-along feature in which words are highlighted as they are read in either auto play or read to me modes. I have looked at several books including the newest ones and have not seen the read-along feature in any of them. This feature would definitely be a plus for beginning readers.

Playtales Gold is a top-notch app. It is very high quality and contains a chock full of activities for kids to do besides just reading books. This is a subscription style application, which means that you will have access to all current and future books for as long as you have a subscription. For those who prefer to purchase books individually and always access to them, be sure to check out Playtales Bookstore. I guarantee you will love the books in their collection!

Download the FREE app here!

PlayTales Gold! Kids' Books
PlayTales Gold! Kids' Books
by Playtales, S.L.

Category: Education, Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone3GS-iPhone-3GS, iPadWifi-iPadWifi, iPad3G-iPad3G, iPodTouchThirdGen-iPodTouchThirdGen, iPhone4-iPhone4, iPodTouchFourthGen-iPodTouchFourthGen, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 100.23 MB


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Screenshots for iPad
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Fides and her husband have been married for 16 years. They homeschool their 4 children: two amazing sons and two beautiful daughters. Fides likes to walk and jog outdoors everyday and has as very difficult time resisting a slice of paradise cake.

Featured App: Sparky’s Birthday Surprise by Cupcake Digital- FREE Fire Safety app.

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Sparky's Birthday SurpriseSparky’s Birthday Surprise is a completely FREE app from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Cupcake Digital. the app contains not only a story but 3 educational mini-games, a music video and coloring and drawing pages. It is a must-have app for anyone with young children, entertaining, yet educational and teaching important fire safety rules. The app can be enjoyed in English or Spanish, and external links are protected by a parental gate (you need to enter your birth year to enter).


The story stars Sparky the Dalmation, Sparky is a fire dog and it is his birthday. Sparky is working at a school teaching fire safety tips to children, whilst he is away his doggie friends plan a birthday surprise. As they bake him a beautiful cake and plan his party, they also learn about fire safety. The story is full of fun interactive elements- the child can learn all about the different parts of a fire engine, ring a fire alarm and help cook Sparky’s cake. The child can read the book themselves and tap on a word to hear it spoken, or listen to the optional narration with word highlighting; there is also “just a book” mode where narration and all interactivity or turned off.


Additional Activities

Birthday Shapes

This fun mini-game works on Shape recognition – the child needs to pick the correctly shaped birthday present. When they pick correctly they get to see what is inside and Sparky gives them a big hi-five !


Pinata Counting

Everyone loves to hit a Birthday Piñata and here children can practice their counting whilst tapping the Piñata. They hear and see the numbers as they count and a flood of dog cookies fall out of the Piñata when they get to the right number.

Sparky Addition

Help Sparky practice his addition, up to 10, by using his fire hose to spray the right number combination. The equation is written out as the problem is completed to help reinforce the learning.

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The child can choose one of six coloring sheets of Sparky and his friends or use blank paper to create their own masterpiece. Tools include brushes, crayons, chalk and spray paint all with a variable tip size and a whole rainbow of color options, plus a fill-in paint option for younger children or tricky areas. There are also a variety of stickers available to decorate their works of art.

Music Video

This fun music video stars Sparky and a chorus line of dancing ants. Whilst they sing and dance along children are learning what to do if they hear a smoke alarm, in a fun and entertaining way.


If you’d like to download Sparky’s Birthday Surprise, ($FREE, iPad/iPhone) please use this link so they’ll know who sent you:

Full version:

Sparky’s Birthday Surprise – Cupcake Digital

Sparky's Birthday Surprise Sparky's Birthday Surprise by NFPA

Price: $FREE

Now available in English and Spanish

​*Winner of Children's Technology Review Editor's Choice Award

It’s Sparky® the Fire Dog’s birthday, and his doggie friends are throwing a surprise.

You can also find more information and Sparky-related activities on his website

NOTE: A fee was received to Feature this app.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

CuddleFish Friends – An underwater interactive adventure by SuperBot Entertainment and Section Studios – Review


What we love…

Beautiful illustrations, fun mini games that make young readers smile and laugh.

What we’d love to see…

Text highlighting in a different color for better contrast, separate controls for sound effects, narration and music, shorter loading time in between pages and a page menu.


A highly enjoyable storybook app about friends having fun together while presenting a wonderful opportunity to introduce diversity in friendship to young children.

Our Rating


CuddleFish Friends is an interactive storybook app about 6 sea animal friends and the fun things that they do together. They race each other, chomp down their snacks, visit the palace, have burping sessions, comfort each other in their secret hideout under the blanket and have sleepovers. But best of all, your child can join in the fun in some of their games like sand fights, tug of war and explore a sea organ that plays funny sounds.


There are a total of 12 interactive pages in this story (not too long nor too short) and there are supportive features for the younger readers. The text are narrated (option to turn off) and the individual words expand when being read. You can also touch individual words to hear them (great for teaching word recognition) and prompts appear when a child needs help on what to do. There is also an option to turn off the audio but unfortunately this not only affects the background music and narration but the sound effects as well. There should be separate controls for these 3 audio components.



On the whole, this is a highly enjoyable storybook app with brilliant illustrations and cute characters. The music is calm (I like the sounds of water bubbles in some pages) and the story ends with a bedtime scene that may put your kid in a sleepy mood. Since these 6 friends are of different types of sea animals (cuttlefish, sea turtle, sea horse, jellyfish and killer whale), this book also presents a perfect opportunity for you to talk about diversity in friendship.

20131016-233559.jpgMy son really enjoyed this book and kept going back to his favorite pages (I would love to have a page menu) especially the burping session (touch the whale’s tale to hear a surprise)! If you have a child who loves playful antics like mine, he will really like CuddleFish Friends.




CuddleFish Friends – An underwater interactive adventure – SuperBot Entertainment and Section Studios

Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB


NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.



Grace was working in the fields of early childhood education and staff training before quitting to attend to her 4 children full time. She and her family live in Singapore, which is well known for her highly competitive education system.

Bugs and Buttons 2 by Little Bit Studio – Review

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What we love…

18 excellent educational games, high quality graphics and animations

What we’d love to see…

Indicator for earning stamps, skill settings, ability to choose song in Music Match, some type of reward for completing the stamp collection


An excellent high-quality educational app for pre-school and early elementary aged children worth far more than its cost.

Our Rating

Bugs and Buttons 2 by Little Bit Studio LLC, is an outstanding sequel to the award winning original Bugs and Buttons.  Like its predecessor, Bugs and Buttons 2 has 18 educational, fun-filled games with beautiful graphics and life-like animations covering various skills such as counting, alphabetical order, sorting, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, shape recognition, music theory, matching, and finding differences.

My 6 year old tester loved all the games including RC Racing, Bubble Float and Flashlight Find, but her absolute favorite (as well as mine) is Music Match.  In Music Match, children must remember and play a sequence of notes on piano in the order they were presented.  The great thing about this game is that the notes aren’t random but are the notes for children’s songs. Playing this game will not only teach children how to play songs on the piano but also teach them what note corresponds to which keys on the keyboard.

Along with playing games, children will also enjoy collecting stamps.  There are two kinds of stamps to collect: insect stamps and country stamps.  Insect stamps are earned when specific points are met or earned in the game.  There are two insects stamps available collect per game.  Country stamps are acquired when children find Morty, a cute and friendly beetle, hiding in the games.  In order to keep track of where (which game) stamps have been collected from, stickers are displayed in the title headings of each game.  An ant sticker is displayed when an insect stamp is earned and a star with the letter M is displayed when Morty has been found.  At the moment, there is a bug in the game that prevents all 18 country (Morty) stamps to be displayed and counted correctly on the stamp book.  It only shows 17 even if all 18 stamps have been collected.  I contacted the developers about this who responded to me very quickly and assured me that it will be fixed on the next update.

There are several things I would like to see on future updates.  First, there is currently no way of knowing exactly when points have been met to earn stamps.  It would be great to either have this information for the parents in the parent page or have some sort of indicator that shows how many more points are needed to earn a stamp.  Second, I would like to have skill settings.  I have noticed that some games require a higher number of points for stamps than others.  Younger children may not have the attention span long enough for them to earn a stamp.  It would be great if parents  could either select or set the number of points required to earn a stamp.  Third, I would like to be able to choose the song in Music Match.  At this time, a random song comes up each time the game is played.  I would like for my child to keep playing the same song until she has completed it. I would also like to have the songs available on free play, but instead of having them match notes the keys would simply light up for them to follow along.  Finally, I would like to see some kind of animation played or special reward given for completing the stamp collection.

Little Bit Studio LLC has undoubtedly made another award winner.  Bugs and Buttons 2 is an excellent high-quality app whose value far exceeds its cost.  I recommend this without reservations to those with pre-schoolers and early elementary aged children.  It is hands down one of the best apps out there.

Bugs and Buttons 2 Bugs and Buttons 2 by Little Bit Studio, LLC.

Price: $2.99 USD

Bugs and Buttons is back with twice the fun! Bugs and Buttons 2 has 18 more games designed to entertain, teach and inspire. Beautiful, life-like 3D illustrations bring scurrying, fluttering and slithering.


If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

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Fides and her husband have been married for 16 years. They homeschool their 4 children: two amazing sons and two beautiful daughters. Fides likes to walk and jog outdoors everyday and has as very difficult time resisting a slice of paradise cake.

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