Thumbelina ~ 3D Interactive Pop-up Book by Storytoys – Review



What we love…

Our youngest and oldest reviewers found the pop-up features of the interactive scenes most entertaining. The background scenery actually moves as you move the device – putting us right there at the story table as the narrator guides us through the storybook!

What we’d love to see…

a few more stickers with the initial purchase vs needing to buy the majority via an in-app purchase.

Summary

An interactive/pop-up storybook that not only shares a story but makes readers part of the story!

Our Rating

Thumbelina ~ 3D Interactive Pop-up BookStoryToys Thumbelina ~ 3D Interactive Pop Up Book presents the traditional story of Thumbelina with beautiful background music and narration. Readers are engaged with animated voices for each character and interactive sound effects as they explore 9 different sceneries.

Plant Thumbelina’s magic flower with a fairy’s help.

Help Toad build Thumbelina’s house.

Save Thumbelina from monsters and logs.

Sing a cheerful song for Thumbelina with hopping birds.

Help Thumbelina make an ice sculpture for Mrs. Mouse.

Help Thumbelina mend the Swallow to health by feeding him worms, rubbing him clean, and building a fire.

Spin Thumbelina’s wedding dress with the help of friendly spiders.

Feed the Swallow as Thumbelina flies to the fairy house.

Tap dandelion fluffs to help celebrate Thumbelina’s marriage to the Fairy Prince.

 

StoryToys Thumbelina has cartoon-like graphics with details that keep readers intrigued and entertained. It is available in all major app stores including the App Store and google play. Developers included a help icon with a child safety feature – preventing accidental access to the Internet and options to turn in-app purchases on/off. One of the most unique features of StoryToys Thumbelina is the ability to read and listen in four different languages – English, French, German, and Spanish. Readers are also able to choose from Read to me, Read by myself, or Auto-play features.

 

A new feature from StoryToys apps is interactive sticker pages with touch-activated stickers letting young readers create their own Thumbelina scenes. Very few stickers are provided with the initial purchase, a slight drawback. We would like to see more stickers available vs needing to buy the majority via an in-app purchase. A separate puzzle area also takes readers further into the story. With 6, 12, 20, or 30 piece options and easy/accurate tap/drag, the puzzle area is appealing to a wide age range and varying abilities. More puzzle scenes are also available via an in-app purchase. The app developers recommend the app for ages 4+. We found that with minimal help three year olds are just as engaged and amazed with the delightful characters and sceneries of StoryToys Thumbelina. StoryToys has done it once again and brought a timeless fairytale to life!

You can download the app here for $3.99

Thumbelina ~ 3D Interactive Pop-up Book
Thumbelina ~ 3D Interactive Pop-up Book
by StoryToys Entertainment Limited

Category: Games, Simulation, Books, Family
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: 144.76 MB

$2.99USD

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[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSW6FHkSJiM’]

“Marica is a married mother of three girls (ages 3, 7, and 9). She works as a school based occupational therapist in Northwest Ohio servicing children with unique needs from ages 3 -22. In her free time ☺ she enjoys learning and exploring with her loving family.



Featured App: Wubbzy’s Fire Engine Adventure by Cupcake Digital



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Wubbzy's Fire Engine AdventureWubbzy’s Fire Engine Adventure by Cupcake Digital is an interactive storybook app featuring “read to me”, “read and play” as well as “just a book” which is the more traditional book format minus the interaction.

The story is about Wubzy and a problem at the Spaghetti and Meatball Factory which sends meatballs raining down on the town of Wuzzleburg. Not only meatballs were flying, but spaghetti noodles were spilling out of the doors and windows! Wybbzy wishes for a firetruck to help the firefighters, and his friend Widget makes him a toy one. Wubbzy promises that he will only use it as a toy, not to actually help people. He decides to help out a few people including someone tangled in a kite, filling a birdbath. Then Wubbzy sees a smoky building and rather than investigate he decides to start spraying water only to discover that Chef Fritz had burned his pancakes! Wubbzy has an accident involving a pancake and bounced on his trampoline. All of a sudden he is being rescued by the fire department and then they offer him the chance to run the siren.  The story features interactivity on every page allowing children to interact while either reading the story themselves or having it read to them.  The “just a book” does not feature the interactivity.

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The story has a fun twist with the “forky forklift” which twirls up the noodles to clean them up. Readers can help by lifting meatballs out of the pile of spaghetti and then counting them up through a fun – albeit virtually messy counting experience!

 

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The app also features a “fire hose game” where children have to correctly identify letters in a sequence of A – Z and spray the proper board.  After properly spraying the series of three and “cleaning” off the boards, a new series of letters is written on the boards.

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The app also features music videos and interactive coloring pages for children to view and play with.  The coloring pages feature scenes from the story and allow children to color their favorite scenes any way that they want to.  In addition, they can watch one of three music video’s stored within the app and learn how to do the “Wubbzy Wiggle”.

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The “Grown Up’s Corner” at the end of the story provides questions for an adult to discuss with their children and take the story beyond a simple reading experience to an interactive learning experience.  These questions tie to common core early learning standards and encourage children to think about the story beyond what they just read or heard. This is a good story to teach your children about what firemen do in their day to day jobs although it is fictionalized.

 

If you would like to download, Wubbzy’s Fire Engine Adventure, which is currently $2.99 please use our link below so they will know who sent you!

 

Wubbzy’s Fire Engine Adventure – Cupcake Digital“>Wubbzy’s Fire Engine Adventure

Wubbzy's Fire Engine Adventure
Wubbzy's Fire Engine Adventure
by CUPCAKE DIGITAL INC.

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: 91.3 MB

$2.99USD

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NOTE: A fee was received to feature this app.

 

 

 

 

 

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.



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

Summary

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.

Books
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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Songs
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!

Activities
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.

Coloring
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

$FREE

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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).

Story

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.

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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 !

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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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Coloring

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.

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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 Sparky.org

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).

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