Curious George and the Birthday Surprise by i Read With – Review and Giveaway



Curious George

What we love…

Graded conversation starters and comprehension questions to engage young readers of different ages.

What we’d love to see…

Read-along text highlighting and more Living Words.

Summary

Another delightful eBook from the i Read With series that gets parents and children reading together and interacting more during their shared reading time.

Our Rating

This is a story of Curious George being left alone at home as the Man with the Yellow Hat went about preparing for a surprise. George found hats, games, decorations and a cake, and wondered if the surprise was a party. He tried to help but he created a mess instead. Fortunately for everyone, he managed to clear the mess and found out, to his surprise, that the birthday party was for him.

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All kids love a birthday story and they will enjoy reading about Curious George’s silly antics over and over again. There are 3 ways to enjoy this book – Listen, Read & Talk and Theater. The Listen mode is the familiar Read-to-Me mode with narrated text and prompts to the interactive spots. There are up to 3 Living Words on each of its 17 pages. Touching the Living Words will bring them to life and animate the object/animal (that the word represents) in the story at the same time. This mode is perfect for the child reading alone. It would be great if read-along text highlighting is added.

This is an app that has been specially designed with the parent in mind. The Read & Talk mode gives you the opportunity to read the story and initiate conversations as you share the story. It provides you with a question or comment on every page for engaging your child. The questions are great for promoting reading comprehension and the comments are wonderful conversation starters. You can also personalize the reading experience by recording over the audio for the Living Words and choosing avatars for yourself (both father and mother avatars are available) and your child.

The app is set up to encourage children to read the book again and again and it grows with the child. There are 3 reading levels with the higher levels offering more Living Words and more advanced questions/ comments with the ability to record your child’s response. As your child reads more, he will also unlock more stickers which he can play with in the Theater. The Theater is where your child can create and record his own story using puppets and scenes from the story. There are 4 scenes to choose from and up to 15 stickers to use. It’s a wonderful storytelling activity for kids to recall or extend the story.

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I really like that this eBook is so packed with wonderful features for both the parent and the child to make the shared reading experience an enjoyable and fulfilling one. You have a children’s favourite character, a birthday theme, a classic story with different levels of reading and hands-on parents guide all conveniently packed in an app, what more can you ask for in an eBook? It is a great book for all curious learners and a must-have for any Curious George fan!

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Curious George and the Birthday Surprise by i Read With – Tribal Nova

Curious George and the Birthday Surprise by i Read With Curious George and the Birthday Surprise by i Read With by Tribal Nova
Category: Books, Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 73.55 MB

$2.99USD

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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.

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.


Music4Kids – Learn, create and compose music through play by Olivier Romanetti – Review and Giveaway



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What we love…

Intuitive interface for writing music which allows kids to see and hear the music that they have written.

What we’d love to see…

Lessons on music notation, more gradual progression for the challenges, ability to share the music and parental gate to the Settings.

Summary

Exceptional app for learning how to read and write music in different musical styles. With lots of ear training exercises for better listening skills, concentration and memory recall, this is a great app for all children.

Our Rating

All kids love to create their own simple tunes and hear them over and over again, and if you can give them something to record their tunes in a written form (musical notation) with a playback capability, you can be sure that they will be inspired to create even more music. To me, Music4Kids is not just another music making game app for kids, what I see is an exceptional app for introducing the basics of music composition and developing young music lovers.

In this app, you and your kids can learn about musical notation, pitch and rhythm which are enough to start you on your music composing exploration. What I especially like is that Music4Kids touches on various musical styles which form the mood of the music that we compose. These are presented in 5 different planets (Birdy, Hamster, Octopus, Fox and Ghost), e.g. the Fox Planet features tunes based on the pentatonic scale, which is popular with rock and blues guitarists and commonly used in oriental music. Even though this was not explored in the music making section, I’m hoping that kids will become curious and want to learn more about the different scales and keys in their music lessons.

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There are 4 sections in this app that are accessible to children – written lessons on music notation, Make a Tune, Challenges and My Tunes. Kids are introduced to notes, clef, pitch, sharp/flat, duration and rests in music but these won’t mean anything to beginners until they start experimenting with these, first by making their own tunes in Make a Tune section then reproducing the music in the Challenges section. It would be ideal if there are some simple lessons to reinforce these new concepts in the beginning.

Make a Tune is where kids get to explore music making by first choosing a note value and tapping on the staff to create a series of notes. As they add each note, they see the name of the note and its corresponding sound. As they review the tune (by having the app play the music), they can move the notes to change the pitch, add a sharp/flat, change the rhythm, remove any unwanted notes or add rests, wherever they want and as many times as they wish. They can then proceed to save the tune in My Tunes section. My Tunes section itself comes with 7 sample tunes and together with the saved tunes, kids can modify or extend to create more compositions.

Watch this video to see how to compose a tune in the app.

I like that the notes are interactive in this app in that kids can hear how each note sounds like by simply tapping on it. With lots of play on the app, they will begin to recognize the notes both by sight and sound. All these will make their music learning so much easier and fun. Free play is encouraged in the Make a Tune section and I recommend that kids have lots of time playing here to familiarise themselves with how the different notes sound before heading to the Challenge section.

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In the Challenges section, kids are challenged to write out the tune played by the app. They have to get the exact pitch and rhythm plus correctly placed rests to complete each challenge before they can move on the next. This may be difficult for beginners at first but with your help (it helps if the child sings the tune as he puts notes on the staff), they will gain more confidence and begin to enjoy solving the music puzzles. Adults may find these puzzles interesting and great as brain exercises as well.

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Each challenge can be played repeatedly for better grading (Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies) and there is a total of 140 unique challenges to play (28 challenges in each of the 5 planets). With so many ear training practices, your child’s listening skills, concentration and memory recall can only get better. On the other hand, ear training is a must for every music student and with lots of practice, being able to play by ear is no longer an impossible dream.

 

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Some extras included in this app that I would like to highlight are the 11 language options (English US/UK, French, Spanish, German, Portugese, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese), playback on 4 music instruments (music box, piano, funny piano and vrillophone) and choice of slow/fast tempo.

Overall, this is a great app to give to young music students to complement their formal music lessons. It is also a good app to use to introduce and create interest in music composition for beginners. So If you wish to nurture your children’s interest in music learning and composition, you should seriously check out Music4Kids.

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Music4Kids Lite – Learn, create and compose music through play – Olivier Romanetti

Music4Kids Lite - Learn, create and compose music through play Music4Kids Lite - Learn, create and compose music through play by Olivier Romanetti
Category: Education, Entertainment
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: 39.13 MB

$FREE

Music4Kids – Learn, create and compose music through play – Olivier Romanetti

Music4Kids - Learn and compose music through play Music4Kids - Learn and compose music through play by Olivier Romanetti
Category: Education, Music
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone3GS-iPhone-3GS, 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: 58.86 MB

$2.99USD

Giveaway

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If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please enter via the widget below. 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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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.


Quick Fractions by Shiny Things – Review




iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

good drills, easy to play, plenty of opportunities to practice fractions, smile yet engaging
interface

What we’d love to see…

ability to disable the Game Center, even better handwriting recognition

Summary

This is an excellent app for those who want to get better at fractions and for those enjoy
math challenges.

Our Rating

Quick Fractions

Quick Fractions is the newest addition to Shiny Things Apps’ series of math games which include Quick Math, Quick Math+, and Quick Clocks. Quick Fractions aims to strengthen mathematical skills in fractions through rapid drills and some fun and friendly competition.

There are four different drills included in the app: equivalence, comparison, addition + subtraction, and multiplication + division. Each of these has four difficulty levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and extreme. The extreme level requires knowledge in percents and decimals in relation to fractions. Players input their answers by writing anywhere on the screen. This is great because it makes it easy to enter answers. The drawback is that players must input it in a way that the game recognizes what was written. There were times my child wrote a number and although it looked legible to me, the app did not recognize it.

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There are a total of ten problems to be solved per game and the goal is to solve them all correctly as quickly as possible. Problems may be skipped, but it will cost the player an incorrect answer and incurred time. After a game is played, the app shows the player’s time and a reward of one, two, or three stars. The player with the fastest time goes to the top of the leaderboard. Players can also challenge their friends to beat their fastest time. This gives players the option to compete against a friend or group of friends instead of against the general public. I would also like to see an option to disable the Game Center completely and have only the player’s own high scores displayed on the leaderboard. Some players may be more encouraged by competing against themselves and seeing their own scores on the leaderboard rather than by competing with others.

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Some neat features are included in this app. A progress chart allows players to track their times on all modes and difficulty levels. There is a setting for handwriting recognition which allows players to choose between two styles of writing numbers and decimals. Players can customize their names and select from a number of avatars. More avatars become available after playing several games and a certain amount of stars have been earned.

Note that this app does not teach fractions. A working knowledge of fractions is necessary to play and enjoy this game. It is well suited for older children, adults, math fans, and math wizards. It can be used as a math class supplement to help students become faster at recognizing and solving fraction problems.

Quick Fractions will stimulate the brain and help players become more adept at fractions. It can be played competitively, and it can be played leisurely. It is worth having in anyone’s app collection, especially for those who enjoy a good math workout.

Quick Fractions – Shiny Things


Quick Fractions Quick Fractions by Shiny Things

Price: $1.99 USD

Hate fractions? That’s ok! Quick Fractions is here to help you master one of the most troublesome areas of mathematics!

Perfect for those just starting out with fractions, more advanced students.

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Quick Math Jr. Quick Math Jr. by Shiny Things

Price: $FREE

*Featured on the App Store*
*Children’s Tech Review Parents’ Choice Award*
*Top Rated by Balefire Labs*
*REVERE Awards Finalist*

Loved by teachers... and kids! Quick Math Jr. is an.

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.


Karl’s Castle HD by Ravensburger Digital – Review



 

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What we love…

The incredibly detailed hand drawn illustrations, the interactive elements and the app’s sense of humor

What we’d love to see…

Narration of the mini-game instructions, additional mini-games

Summary

A fun and unusual children’s app. It will appeal most to toddlers, pre-school and early elementary school age children, especially those with an interest in castles or who dream of being a knight or princess.

Our Rating

Karl's Castle HDKarl’s Castle  is an interactive picture book for young children from by Ravensburger Digital. It is available in both iPhone and iPad versions, this review is of the iPad version. It contains no adverts or in-app purchases. It does contain app store and social media links behind a parental gate.

Although Karl’s Castle is in the book section of the app store it is not a conventional book app- there are no pages to turn or story to read. Instead it is a very detailed castle scene to explore and interact with. Growing up the name Ravensburger was synonymous with high quality jigsaw puzzles, and I can just image this image being made into a 1,000 piece puzzle – it is really well illustrated with an incredible amount of detail, and a sense of humor showing through.

When you start the app you enter the castle via the drawbridge and the heavy wooden doors slowly swing open to the strains of medieval – sounding music. Once inside, the music gives way to sounds of castle life with chickens clucking and birds squawking in the background, the music and sound effects can be muted in settings, but they really help bring the app to life. You can view the castle as a whole by panning out and tapping on the screen will zoom in to explore in more detail. There is a lot to find in the castle- over 70 interactive elements, including plants, animals and people. Throughout the scene you can find the castle inhabitants  getting on with their daily lives including drawing water from a well, cooking over an open fire, feeding animals, children playing, knights practicing their archery and sword fighting. Tapping on many of these triggers a short animation, including some funny ones such as an archer misfiring his bow and hitting the painters bottom, and a knight in armor being knocked of his horse as he rides through  half-open portcullis. There are also many familiar characters to discover including the Princess and the Frog; the Pied Piper of Hamelin; Sleeping Beauty, The Emperor’s New Clothes and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. As you pan around the castle turrets there is a nice 3D effect as you explore the outer layers of the castle buildings and the surrounding countryside. The app supports multi-touch which is great for little fingers and also means you can play more than one interaction at once.

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 The app also includes 3 mini-games, these are marked by “!” signs over the characters, you can switch off the mini-games in settings.

1. Hide and Seek

This is played with a young would-be knight riding a hobby horse. He hides in the castle grounds and you need to find him, once you’ve found him 5 times the game is over. It can be quite challenging as sometimes he hides in unexpected places such as on a rooftop.

2. Find the Pied Piper’s Rats

The Pied Piper’s rats have gone missing and he asks you to help find them. They are each hiding with just their tail peeking out (but there are sparkles to help you find them), once you’ve found them all the Pied Piper and his rats play you a song.

3. Musical Birds

A group of musical birds are perched on a clothes line. The birds each sing a different note and in a classic memory game they play a sequence of notes which you need to memorize and repeat. As you play the game they are teaching you a song line by line, and they play the whole song once you completed each step. The more you play the more songs are unlocked.

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The mini-games are a nice extra feature and I would love to see a few more added – maybe a treasure hunt to find different characters or animals ? One thing that did bother me is the mini-games assume the child is reading, but the parental gate assumes the child is not (you follow directions such as swipe 1 finger to the left).  The mini-game instructions are written but not spoken, so the first time a non-reading child plays they will need an adult’s help, I would really like to see verbal directions added.

Overall this is a fun and unusual children’s app. It will appeal most to toddlers, pre-school and early elementary school age children, especially those with an interest in castles or who dream of being a knight or princess. I especially like the wonderful illustrations- they are rich, detailed and full of life and the interactions- there are so many to be found with a nice variety from simple sound effects to fun animations.

Karl’s Castle HD – Ravensburger Digital GmbH

Karl's Castle HD Karl's Castle HD by Ravensburger Digital GmbH

Price: $1.99 USD

Best Children's Game 2012 - German Developer Award

4,5 of 5* The iMum
-"Overall this is a fun and unusual children’s app."

Experience a world of fantasy that will enchant you over .

iPhone version:
Karl’s Castle – Ravensburger Digital GmbH

Karl's Castle Karl's Castle by Ravensburger Digital GmbH

Price: $0.99 USD

Best Children's Game 2012 - German Developer Award

4,5 of 5* The iMum
-"Overall this is a fun and unusual children’s app."

Experience a world of fantasy that will enchant you over .

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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