The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad by BelMontis Publishers – Review

The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad by BelMontis Publishers – Review



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

beautiful illustrations and engaging story with different story points chosen by the reader

What we’d love to see…

font in one consistent color and easier to read, currently it’s small in size

Summary

Remove this text and add your own here.

Our Rating

The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad by BelMontis Publishers is an iPad only app featuring two characters Aladdin and Sinbad in a storybook for young readers (ages 6 – 11) with three translations in English, Spanish and Chinese.  The story is about a magic lamp and how Aladdin and Sinbad are going to search for a magic lamp.  The story pages are on parchment with a red background with pen and ink drawings and each page features an interactive element that engages the reader into the story.  The words are highlighted as the are read and turn a slightly different color after they are read which makes them show up more clearly on the page.  There is an option to have the words translated and they appear at the bottom of the page.  There are choices that the reader can make which help direct the story and engage them further as well as exploring the app via a map.  As each island visit is completed, the map is highlighted to show you where you had been on your adventures – and each time you open the app you can explore a different place.  Each of the islands features an interactive element either a riddle, a book given or something else to help Aladdin on his journey to find the magic lamp.  While Aladdin is away on his journey, the city has fallen into poverty and the story continues even after the lamp is found!  After completing the journey you are invited to choose another island to explore and the story continues.

The app features:

  • interactive story elements
  • ability to choose your destination based on a map and learning about new places including Bubble Kingdom, Kingdom of Dreams, Upside Down Kingdom,The Mirror Door, The White Dome, Hose Shoe Island, Soo-Ven-Ir and many more
  • narration in English, Spanish and Chinese
  • beautiful pen and ink illustrations and hand drawn pages
  • narration to hear the story
  • original music throughout

iPad Screenshot 5

I loved the illustrations and interactive elements on each page and this app kept my son engaged as he read the story with me and subsequently  by himself.  He enjoyed tapping on the treasure map and exploring each of the different paths the story could take to read it.  I also liked the different areas that could be tapped on to learn more especially the fish bubble that contained an underwater kingdom.  He enjoyed touching the screen and exploring inside the bubble and spent quite a bit of time studying the image.  My son enjoyed hearing the story of the lamp, especially in the underwater kingdom as well as the gift that was given by the Sultan.

In terms of improvements, the font is problematic.  It varies in color and style and can be difficult at times to read on the screen until it is read aloud.  I would also like the option to have the translation read aloud – perhaps there is a way to have the words in English on the page, and then also read them in the translation.  Currently, the translation is at the bottom of the page and requires you to “scroll” with your finger in order to read it, it’s smaller than the read aloud font on the screens.

 

 

This app provides engagement for kids, over and over again as they explore the paths that can be read.  My son has opened and explored the app new fewer than six times to look at each of the islands and adventures.  The narration and pen and ink drawings as well as the adventure portion draw kids in – even younger emerging readers and encourage them to engage and understand the story.  With the beautiful illustrations, children can imagine what is said on the pages and tap on the interactive elements to move forward. It is best for children who are reading in some form and those who enjoy exploring on each page. There are no external links or in-app purchases.



The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad by BelMontis Publishers Pte. Ltd.

Price: $3.99 USD

*** Teachers with Apps: "Belmontis has a knack for continuing the tradition of a GREAT storytelling! Not to mention that the art alone is spectacular..."
*** The iMums: "This app provides engagement.

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.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! 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.
 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

    It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown It's The 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.

  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 ~ 3D Pop-Up Activity Book Haunted House ~ 3D Pop-Up 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).
 Green Eggs and Ham – Read & Learn – Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media – Review

Green Eggs and Ham – Read & Learn – Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media – Review



iPad Screenshot 3

What we love…
A true Dr. Seuss classic!  Encourages pre-literacy and literacy skills
What we’d love to see…

The ability for a child to record their own voice.

Summary

I love this app.  It is a great addition to the other Ocean Media books that I have.  It represents the original book perfectly adding animation, activities and has a lot of educational possibilities.

Our Rating

Green Eggs and Ham - Read & Learn - Dr. SeussGreen Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss, is another exceptional app by Oceanhouse Media.  True to the style of other Oceanhouse Media apps, Green Eggs and Ham is an excellent app representation of the classic Dr. Seuss Book. The main character, Sam-I-Am tries his hardest to get Sam’s Friend to try Green Eggs and Ham.  The children love how annoying Sam-I-Am is and how he perseveres in his attempt to get his friend to eat.  Moral is clear and well received.  The repetitive rhyming nature of the book is a great first step into phonemic awareness and literacy.  There are 2 reading options: Read to Me, Read to Myself.  As well, there is the option to tap on the words and the pictures to reveal vocabulary items. Once the story is started, the control panel allows you to return to home or to go to a specific page.  There are 4 different settings that you can customize for your child by turning them on or off; Learning Activities, Music and Sound, News and Alerts and Picture Words.  All can be reset after each play so that the book can be read and played with many times.

The app is extremely user friendly.  Icons to return to home or to access parental section are blocked, but can be accessed by pulling down the book icon at the top of the page. Kids can easily go back to  previous pages and redo the activities, if they have not been reset.  One of the things that makes the “read and learn” style of book different than the other books from Oceanhouse Media is that kids are encouraged to engage with the story for learning rather than simply having the story read to them.  There are vocabulary words and activities that encourage them to touch and learn rather than doing passive listening.

iPad Screenshot 4

At the onset the child is given verbal and written directions on how to manipulate and navigate the pages.  If the volume is off, you are directed to turn it back on.  Each page has a hidden star, the children are directed to move the graphics around and find the star. I really like this idea since every time they touch an item on the page, the word pops up and the narrator says the word.   Once the star is found, it is set to the bottom of the page.  When the child wants, they tap on the star to reveal a different literacy style activity (spelling, phonemic awareness, rhyming). The feedback for correct and incorrect answers is subtle and not at all disturbing to the child.  On certain pages, the kids are encouraged to shake, move or rotate the iPad to see different reactions to the different characters and items on the page. When the graphics are moved, the scene remains in its new position.

Narrations is clear and easily made to repeat.  The characters have different voices and are pleasant listen to.  Intonation varies to depict feeling and intent.  I like this a lot, as with many special needs children learning to read, they don’t understand intonation in terms of comprehending the statement.  Words can be highlighted for repetition, as can the whole paragraph on the page.   The colors on the pages reflect the original books by Dr. Seuss.  The pages are engaging and interactive.  My preschoolers students listened, interacted and read by themselves for a long time.

I really liked the book as it is very true to the original text and is a true classic tale.  I find that it encourages pre-literacy and literacy skills.  The app encourages kids to engage with the story by having them find stars for activities.  You have to touch and move objects on the page to find the stars which causes a written word to appear along with spoken narration.  This encourages kids to participate and engage with the story while making it fun – especially for preschoolers!

I really enjoyed the app, and there is very little that I would change.  I would like to see the ability to record your own voice for the text, but that’s it!

As a Speech Language Pathologist, I truly appreciate the style of Dr. Seuss’s writing and this book/app is another great educational tool.  It encourages pre-literacy and emerging reading as well.  It is a great addition to the other Ocean Media books that I have.  It represents the original book perfectly adding animation, activities and has a lot of educational possibilities.  It’s different than other Oceanhouse Media books in that it engages the reader to learn, rather than being a passive listener which causes children to learn without realizing it!

Green Eggs and Ham Read and Learn style=”display:inline-block;overflow:hidden;background:url(http://linkmaker.itunes.apple.com/images/badges/en-us/badge_appstore-sm.svg) no-repeat;width:80px;height:15px;”>

Green Eggs and Ham Green Eggs and Ham 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
Size: 43.55 MB

$3.99USD

Lisa is a Speech Language Pathologist who has been working in an inclusive school system for over 32 years. She works with children that have issues in all areas of speech and language. She loves her work and is always looking for ways to integrate technology.
 NetKids Digital Entertainment Network for Kids by Cupcake Digital – Review

NetKids Digital Entertainment Network for Kids by Cupcake Digital – Review



iPad Screenshot 5

What we love…

super easy to use app that provides an unlimited buffet without needing internet access to apps, books, activities and more

What we’d love to see…

parental area that allows you to see new content that is added, ability to curate the app based on your child’s specific age and a better explanation of how the subscription works as well as how to turn off cellular data on your device

Summary

This app provides a great digital library for offline or online use without having to make a huge upfront investment.  Content is being added weekly which will allow continued use of the app without having too much of a repeat.

Our Rating

Cupcake Digital has released a new iOS app for iPhone and iPad that may change the way you use your iPad.  NetKids Digital Entertainment Network app is a subscription based app that allows your children to explore child-safe content (for those age 10 and under) in an unlimited format including storybooks, activities and stand alone apps.  Brands represented in NetKids include: The Smurfs, Peanuts, Strawberry Shortcake, Rio, Sid the Science Kid, Biscuit, Thomas & Friends, Jim Henson’s Pajanimals, Baby Genius, Cool School.  The best part?  Once you download the app, everything is on your device so no need to use up data or try to find wi-fi so your child can check out the storybooks or apps.  The app provides updates on a weekly basis, which are automated when you are connected to wi-fi.  This app is best for preschool through about age 10 depending on the types of activities your child likes and their reader level. The app includes a free seven day trial so you can try it before you buy it to see if it will be a good fit for your family.

iPhone Screenshot 4

My son loves apps from Cupcake Digital so I gave him my iPad Mini to give the app a spin, two hours later he brought it back and said, Mom you have to check this out!  I did some reading (Peanuts), watched a video (Sid) and listened to a couple of more stories.  My favorite part – there are no external links with the exception of setting up the subscription and the apps and information are child safe and appropriate for my son.  The app has a parental gate which requires you to put in your birth year to access iTunes and there is no splash screen in between.  For younger kids, I would suggest guided access or sitting with them when using the device the first time.  The app really reminded me a bit of Netflix but instead of movies, there was a ton of great content that was age appropriate for my son and he could access on his own without internet.  This is the perfect app for a flight, long car trip or a time when you know that you will need access to an app without having to worry about getting on wi-fi.  I liked the highlighted text for the books and as an emerging reader, the highlighted books and narration were helpful to have my son follow along.  I also liked that one subscription meant you could use it on multiple devices using the restore feature which would be nice for someone with multiple children and multiple devices.

iPad Screenshot 2

In terms of improvements, the “auto renew” portion of the subscription can be a bit cumbersome.  When I try something out for the first time I always want to try it before I “buy” without worrying about renewal.  I turned it off, and found that a question popped up which caused me to turn it back on.  I would prefer the question to be, “Do you want to turn off auto-renew?  That means that the content will NOT automatically renew”.  I’d also like to see a way to curate the app for specific age ranges – for example my older son wasn’t interested in all of the characters, and like Netflix for kids he just scrolled by.  It would be nice if there was a way to turn on and off content based on your child and what you want them to be able to see.  I’d also like to see more content included, but with time the library of items will grow in the app.  Perhaps a “parent” section can mention the new items that are coming, as well as upcoming enhancements.

A few notes, I would suggest turning off cellular data for the app when letting your child use it so they do not run up charges.  In addition, I opened up a bunch of items before I let my son use the iPad so he wasn’t disappointed that they had not loaded to our iPad.  I’d like to see a more clear description of the renewal process and what that means and how to easily turn it off in settings.

Overall, this is a great way to provide a digital library to your child without a huge upfront investment.  This app gives a comprehensive suite of apps, books, short videos that will keep your kids entertained and learning.  It was enough for me to tap the “renew” button and let my son have access to it on an ongoing basis.

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.



NetKids Digital Entertainment Network for Kids NetKids Digital Entertainment Network for Kids by CUPCAKE DIGITAL INC.

Price: $FREE

NetKids offers unlimited entertainment for kids! You’ll find fun games and activities, parent approved videos, and narrated stories—all within a safe, ad-free environment! Kids will be able to watch.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! 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.

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