How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Learn & Play by Oceanhouse Media – Review

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Learn & Play by Oceanhouse Media – Review



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What we love…

great story, excellent reading tools, tons of fun and educational games

What we’d love to see…

Ability to record your own voice

Summary

An outstanding Christmas themed app, loaded with activities, that brings the story of the Grinch to life.

Our Rating

How The Grinch Stole Christmas! - Read & Play - Dr. SeussReading Oceanhouse Media’s newest app, How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Learn & Play, feels like Christmas morning. Every page is a present waiting to be unwrapped, a present given such careful thought, it is guaranteed to delight and bring a smile to its recipient.

The first gift is the gift of story. This highly interactive app brings a beloved Dr. Seuss Christmas book to life with outstanding narration and excellent animations. It tells the story of a Grinch who hates Christmas so much he decided he would stop it from happening in a town called Whoville. He thought that he could accomplish this by taking everything away that was related to Christmas such as presents, Christmas trees, and decorations. To his surprise, his scheme did not work. The spirit of Christmas, you see, was not found in the physical things that represent it, but inside people’s hearts. What a beautiful lesson to learn and remember this holiday!

The next gift is the gift of reading. Emergent readers will enjoy the Read To Me and Auto Play options where words are highlighted as the narrator reads the story. Following along with the narration helps children recognize written words, build vocabulary, and learn techniques for expressive reading. They can also click on objects on the page to discover their names and how they are pronounced. Early and transitional readers will benefit from the clickable word feature. As they attempt to read the story by themselves with the Read It Myself option, they can click on individual words to hear them read aloud. This helps them learn to read unfamiliar words as well verify pronunciation of words they already know.

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The final gift, which is actually a bunch of little gifts, is the gift of play. Play helps children learn and develop new skills, and this app provides 28 different exciting games for children to engage in. Games are hidden on each page. They are found by tapping around the picture on the page. When a game is found, a star pops up. Click on the star to discover what the game is. Games include jigsaw puzzles, memory games, musical sequencing games, word search, and more. The games get more and more challenging as the reader goes further in the book.

Parents can customize their child’s reading experience through the settings option. They can disable play activities and picture words. They can toggle music, sound, news, and alerts. They can reset hints and games. In the parents section, parents can view how much time children spent on the app, how many pages they read, and how many times they have read the book from beginning to end. Parents can also access social networks, websites, and App Store links related to the app and to the developer.

My daughter was immediately drawn to this app and enjoyed it immensely. She loved the story and all the interactivity found on every page. What she loved most though, was searching for the games. It was exciting for her not only to find out where it is hidden but also to discover what game was waiting for her to be played. If she could, she would spend hours reading and playing this app. I loved the app as well, but I missed the voice recording option that is found in other Oceanhouse Media apps. I hope to see this feature added in the future.

Overall, I found How The Grinch Stole Christmas: Learn & Play to be very well done. It will make an excellent addition to a Christmas app collection or to a reading library, and I am sure that it will be a Christmas app favorite in your home as it is become in ours.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
by Oceanhouse Media

Category: Books, Education
Requirements: Compatible with 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: 60.68 MB

$3.99USD

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)


NOTE: This app is currently 20% off so be sure to grab it while it’s on sale!

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.
 10 Great Kids Book Apps For Halloween

10 Great Kids Book Apps For Halloween




With Halloween fast approaching, and pumpkins everywhere, there is nothing like a good book to get you in the right mood. Here are 10 of our favorite kids book apps to get children ready to celebrate Halloween.

  1. It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown by Loud Crow. For Halloween nostalgia nothing beats the peanuts gang. Loud Crow have done a great job of bringing this Halloween Classic to life. It is presented as a pop-up book and you can read it yourself or have it narrated by Peter Robbins (the original Charlie Brown). It has animations, interactive elements and the original music and dialog. $5.99
  2. iTunes link

    Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

    Price: $4.99 USD

    * Featured in NY Times and TIME
    * iPad & iPhone App of the Week
    * #1 App in Books & Entertainment

    Oh, Great Pumpkin! Where are you? This Halloween, hang out with Charlie Brown and the entire.

  3. Hotel Transylvania 2 Official Storybook App by Cupcake Digital
  4. Hotel Transylvania 2 is the hot kids movie this Halloween and the official storybook app is a great way to prepare the kids before seeing the movie or relive it afterwards. the app features scenes and character voices from the movie and bonus coloring pages. iTunes link

    Hotel Transylvania 2 Official Storybook App Hotel Transylvania 2 Official Storybook App by CUPCAKE DIGITAL INC.

    Price: $2.99 USD

    Winner of the Editor's Choice Award, Children's Technology Review (CTR).

    CTR's Editor's Choice Awards are given to only the highest quality children’s products in the interactive media category.

  5. The Witch With No Name by SlimCricket.  A funny and very interactive tale about a witch who has lost her name, and is very grumpy as a result. Her Bat Battina decides to help her find her name, and together they go about collecting all the ingredients needed for a spell to find out her name. This app is very well done, fun, well narrated and the reader really gets to be part of the story with several interactive mini-games. $3.99
  6. iTunes link

    The Witch With No Name HD The Witch With No Name HD by SlimCricket

    Price: $2.99 USD

    The Witch With No Name is an artful blend of story and games

    *** Featured in the book "iPad Apps for Kids" (part of the "For Dummies" books series) ***

    ---------
    *AppySmarts.com : (94.

  7. The Bedsby Tales: Spooky Short Stories with Monsters, Myths, Ghosts and More!By Jacob Duane Johnson. This short interactive tale does a great job of setting a spooky scene with fantastic narration, music, sound effects and black and white illustrations. The first tale is free, other installments are expected later. Free
  8. iTunes link

    The Bedsby Tales: Spooky Short Stories with Monsters, Myths, Ghosts and More! The Bedsby Tales: Spooky Short Stories with Monsters, Myths, Ghosts and More! by Jacob Duane Johnson

    Price: $FREE

    Made for Kids! Experience a chilling journey through the mysteries of the unknown. The Bedsby Tales is a fantastic episode and interaction driven bedtime series made for kids 9-12. Interact with the.

  9. Trick or Treat – Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media. A perfect introduction to Halloween for 2-5 year olds. Little Critter is preparing for Halloween,  and taking part in traditional Halloween activities with his family. $1.99
  10. iTunes link

    Trick or Treat - Little Critter Trick or Treat - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media

    Price: $0.99 USD

    ----- 50% OFF FOR A LIMITED TIME -----

    Join Little Critter in this interactive storybook app as he gets ready for Halloween! Explore pictures, learn new vocabulary, and personalize the story with.

  11. Haunted House ~ 3D Pop-Up Activity Book by StoryToys Entertainment Limited is not a story but rather a series of fun interactive activities presented as a 3-D pop-up book. It has eleven different 3-D scenes to explore with ghoulish games and creepy activities. The eerie background music and sound effects really set the scene.  $1.99 (IAP for more stickers and jigsaws)
  12. iTunes link

    Haunted House Activity Book Haunted House Activity Book by StoryToys Entertainment Limited

    Price: $2.99 USD

    * Winner of the Editor's Choice Award, Children's Technology Review *
    * No.1 Kids App in US App Store! *
    * Tech With Kids Best Pick App Award *

    It's back, and it's spookier than ever! The.

  13. Tilly Witch – by Auryn apps. This is a classic Halloween story based on the book published in 1969 by Don Freeman. Tilly is the Queen of Halloween, the meanest witch in all Witchdom. One day she is playing at being happy and it sticks – she can’t go back to being mean. But what does this mean for Halloween, who will scare the children?
  14. iTunes link

    Tilly Witch Tilly Witch by Auryn Inc.

    Price: $1.99 USD

    Tilly Witch forgot how to be mean and had to return to finishing school for witches to re-learn the trickery of the trade.

    Tilly is a witch and the Queen of Halloween. One day, she tries playing.

  15. What Was I Scared Of ? by Oceanhouse Media. In this classic Dr Seuss tale the hero meets “a pair of pale green pants with no-body inside them”, at first he convinces himself that he isn’t scared but the more often he seems them the more terrified he gets. A great story about overcoming your fears. $0.99
  16. iTunes link

    What was I Scared of? - Dr. Seuss What was I Scared of? - Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media

    Price: $0.99 USD

    This app is for customers who own the older version of this app and require an update for 64-bit compatibility. NEW customers should search for "Dr. Seuss" in the AppStore to find the latest, greatest.

  17. The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Oceanhouse Media. Spookley is ostracised by the other pumpkins because of his odd shape, but as a storm sets in and rolls the round pumpkins uncontrollably across the pumpkin patch towards a raging river, Spookley saves the day. A  charming, wholesome story about social acceptance which includes a very important message that it’s OK to be different.  $2.99
  18. iTunes link

    The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Oceanhouse Media

    Price: $2.99 USD

    * Selected by Apple as a "Halloween Pick for Kids" - Oct 2012
    * Listed in "Best Halloween apps for kids" - USA Today 2012
    * "Young ones will enjoy being rewarded with sound effects when they touch.

  19. Who is The Ugliest Of All? by Joshua and Donna Wilson. In this quirky, interactive Halloween -themed tale the reader is a fly on the wall as a girl gets ready to go a party. As she chooses her outfit, applies makeup and adds some rather unusual accessories it seems she has really poor taste. But is there another reason for her unusual style and conviction that she will be the ugliest of all ?/
  20. iTunes Link


Who is the Ugliest of All? Who is the Ugliest of All? by Joshua Wilson

Price: $3.99 USD

Who is the Ugliest of All? is an interactive Halloween Story featuring a young girl's internal dialog. With her questionable fashion choices and increasingly odd imperfections she challenges our conventional.

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).
 Hotel Transylvania 2 Official Storybook App by  Cupcake Digital -Review

Hotel Transylvania 2 Official Storybook App by Cupcake Digital -Review



iPhone Screenshot 1

What we love…

Pictures and character voices from movie bring the story to life, positive storyline, word highlighting as it is read, coloring pages

What we’d love to see…

interactive elements

Summary

A fun storybook app for Halloween, it will be enjoyed both by kids who have seen the movie and those who haven’t. The story has a very positive message – learning to love someone for who they are and accepting their differences.

Our Rating

Hotel Transylvania 2 Official Storybook App Just in time for Halloween Drac is back in a new movie adventure – Hotel Transylvania 2 and Cupcake Digital have released the official movie storybook app. The book app features movie stills and the original character voices from the movie and includes a bonus- coloring pages featuring characters from the movie. Sound effects, background music and narration volume can all be individually controlled and words are highlighted as the story is read.

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Seven years have gone by since the first movie ended and a lot has happened.  Hotel Transylvania is open to human guests. Mavis the Vampire and Johnny the human got married and have a son called Dennis, or Denisovich to the vampire side of the family! Dennis is growing up happily surrounded by family and friends both human and monster.

Dennis’ Vampa Drac is secretly worried that Dennis is not showing signs of being a vampire. At the hotel Monsters and humans mix happily and Dennis loves his monster friends but Mavis worries it is too rough a place for him and dreams of moving to California. Drac sends Mavis and Johnny on a trip to California and conspires with his monster friends to bring out Dennis’ true vampire. things get complicated when Vlad, Drac’s human-hating dad appears on the scene.

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As the app has original pictures from the movie they are very bright, colorful and detailed. The narration is well-done and includes character voices from the movie, adding to its authenticity. It does not have any animations or interactive elements, which would be a nice addition.

The app also includes 6 coloring pages featuring characters from the story. There are a good range of colors to choose from with 4 different coloring tools each in 3 pen widths, plus fill-in coloring and stickers. These would make a great Halloween craft allowing children to make their own halloween cards or coloring sheets. You can save completed, or uncolored, pictures to your camera roll and print them from there.

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This is a fun storybook app for Halloween with lots of monsters and vampires, although it has some scary parts in the middle it has a happy ending. It is a good way to introduce the plot to young children before taking them to see the movie, so they are less likely to be scared and also fun to read after watching the movie. The storybook app would also be a good Halloween read even for kids who have not seen the movie. Despite its monster theme the overall message of the book and movie is a very positive one- learning to love someone for who they are, no matter what their differences are from you. It is a universal theme that can be extrapolated to help children to accept all kinds of differences- racial, religious, ethnicity or disabilities.

The app does have a screen showing more Cupcake apps and a parent information section with external links including social media links. The appstore links and parent information area have a parental gate that requires entering your birth year.

iTunes Link: Hotel Transylvania 2 Official Storybook App – CUPCAKE DIGITAL INC

Hotel Transylvania 2 Official Storybook App Hotel Transylvania 2 Official Storybook App by CUPCAKE DIGITAL INC.

Price: $2.99 USD

Winner of the Editor's Choice Award, Children's Technology Review (CTR).

CTR's Editor's Choice Awards are given to only the highest quality children’s products in the interactive media category.

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.

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).
 Epic! – Books for Kids Subscription eBook Library By Epic! Creations Inc- Review

Epic! – Books for Kids Subscription eBook Library By Epic! Creations Inc- Review




iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

Over 2,000 books, reading log, incentives to read, well-known authors, personal book recommendations, ability to read offline.

What we’d love to see…

Even more new books, search option

Summary

Digital equivalent of having a personal library of thousands of kids books ready to be read and enjoyed with the added bonus of a reading log and reward system

Our Rating

Epic! - Books for Kids Epic! is a subscription  ebook service for children aged 12 and under. The Palo Alto based developer has teamed up with some big names in children’s book publishing including Kids Can Press, Lerner Publishing Group, Open Road Integrated Media, and Simon & Schuster to create Epic!  A 1 month free trial is available after that a subscription is $9.99 per month or $79.99 a year. Epic! says it currently has over 2,000 titles (I didn’t count them!) with plans to add more every month. It includes both Fiction and Non-Fiction books.

The app has a password protected parents area, this contains social media and email links; some of these links are also in the settings area of the individual profiles, to access them you must enter a birth year. From the parents area you can create up to 4 reader profiles, check your subscription status, and clear your cache if you are running short on space.

Each family member can customize their own avatar for their account, and as they read they can unlock more avatar options and earn badges. In setting up the profiles you can choose from 4 reading age levels: 4 & under, 5-7. 8-10 and 11-12.

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The user interface reminds me of Netflix, and within each player’s profile you can browse and see a different selection of books. At the top are  the book of the week and other highlighted books e.g. for Easter Week Bunny books are in the spotlight; then books you have recently read; then books recommended for you followed by a variety of categories e.g. Picture books, Non-Fiction, Historical, Fantasy, Adventure and Graphic Novels. Whenever you select a book it shows the suggested Reading Age inside the front cover, alongside a brief synopsis of the book.

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As you browse through the bookshelves you can mark books as favorites to make them easy to find, read them now, or download to read offline. These are not book apps- they don’t have any interactive elements, music, sound effects or narration; they are ebooks  – faithful digital reproductions of print book that contain the original text and illustrations. Having this app is not like having a bunch of book apps but instead like having a home library of thousands of print books that you can take with you wherever you go. I really like the ability to read offline as that way I can stock up with books before we are traveling and can use them in places without internet such as in the car or on a plane. When reading with an internet connection it was nice to be able to read instantly rather than waiting for a book to download; though I did find in my twins bedroom, where the internet connection is slow, that I couldn’t read the picture books too quickly or the next page wouldn’t be loaded when we turned the page.

My six-year-old twins are really enjoying all the books they can choose from and I like the fact that each child has their own profile and that the available books cover a wide age range. For reluctant readers the rewards may act as an incentive to get them reading more. As a parent I really appreciate the fact it keeps a daily record of books read, and minutes reading each book,  it makes keeping their school reading logs up-to-date so much easier!

The book selection is really good especially for the younger ages , there doesn’t seem to be quite as big a selection for the 11-12 year-olds. My kids like to see familiar names such as Olivia, Click Clack Moo, Henry and Mudge, and The Boxcar Children but also enjoy discovering the many new books in the app. When reading you can zoom in the see more details and can read full-screen in either portrait (single page) or landscape (double page) mode.

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Overall, I  really love this app but there is one thing I’d like to see added and that is a search option. It would be great to be able to search for favorite authors or for a particular topic and if you find one book your child enjoys to see if there are others by the same author available.

I would heartily recommend trying out Epic! to see if it is a good fit for your family. If you are looking for book apps with lots of interactions and narration this collection is probably not for you. However, if you are looking for the digital equivalent of having a personal library of thousands of kids books ready to be read and enjoyed with the added bonus of a reading log and reward system for reading then this is a great choice. Epic! is positioning itself to be the Children’s Book equivalent of Netflix, much as Oyster is for adult books. Although it has nowhere near as many titles as Oyster’s over 200, ooo , it does have by far the largest collection of well-known books I’ve seen in a children’s subscription book app. Ultimately I think Epic!’s long term success or failure will depend on it’s ability to keep growing its collection of titles so that the app remains fresh and interesting, I think if they deliver on their promise to keep continually adding more quality content they will have a hit on their hands.

The app is free to download but to access the library you must subscribe -there is a 1 month free trial after that it is $9.99 per month or $79.99 for an annual subscription, you can switch off auto-renew in your iPad settings.
Epic! – Books for Kids – Epic! Creations Inc

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Price: $

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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.

 

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).

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