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The Perfect Shape, an Interactive Kid's Book

Posted by Kevin Stout on April 5th, 2012
iPad App - Designed for iPad

PipeDream Labs, an app development company based out of India, has released its first interactive children’s book, The Perfect Shape. The book is a 30-page story with unique art, music, and interactivity.

The app mixes some traditional story-telling with animations (both subtle and flamboyant) to make for an interesting experience for children. The book describes the tale of Curiosity, the youngest son of the creator, and his goal to “redesign the world to make it a better place and rid it of all wrongs.” Curiosity is accompanied by his pet Bunny. The Perfect Shape follows Curiosity and his pet as they adventure to create the perfect world.

The Perfect Shape was released on March 23th and is available for $2.99. The Perfect Shape is an iPad-only app.

PipeDream Labs also creates digital comics, games, and designs toys. Check them out here.

Marvel Graphic Novels Now Available on Apple iBookstore

Posted by Jason Wadsworth on February 29th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Today marks the arrival of over 60 Marvel graphic novels on the Apple iBookstore. Fans of the popular comic books can now find their favorite Marvel heros including the Avengers, Spider-Man, the X-Men, Captain America, the Hulk, and others. These graphic novels (compilations of several comic book issues) range in price from $8.99 to $24.99 and free previews are available for each title.

After purchase, these titles will be optimized for and viewable through Apple's iBooks app on the iPhone, iPod, and iPad in full, vibrant color. Marvel has announced that it will be releasing new titles every week, and an extended preview of the New Avengers Vol. 1 is currently available for free.

To view all of the Marvel graphic novels currently available for download in the iBookstore, go here. Marvel fans can now add iBooks to their favorite ways to read and reread the stories of their favorite mutant heros.

[itmsapp: 364709193]

Oceanhouse Media Releases the Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection #1 - Thing 2 Sure to Follow

Posted by Rob Rich on February 3rd, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Having spent a decent portion of my retail career involved in the children's section of a bookstore, I think I have a solid grasp of what makes for popular literature among parents and their children. There's always one or two "flavors of the week," but there are also those that always sell. Where the Wild Things Are. The Velveteen Rabbit. Virtually anything written by Mo Willems or Sandra Boynton. Sitting proudly at the top of this list are the works of the undisputed monarch of children's literature, Dr. Seuss.

Theodor Seuss Geisel's stories have been adapted for all manner of medium, not surprisingly including iOS. Oceanhouse Media has been offering special adaptations, referred to as "omBooks" for portable Apple devices for quite a while now. These special not-quite-ebooks allow users to flip through their virtual pages normally, have the stories read to them at a set pace (not unlike a movie) or a hybrid of the two that narrates while emphasizing key words.

While individual Seuss classics have been available in this form for quite some time, Oceanhouse has released their first-even multi-title collection. The Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection #1 features five of (arguably) his most well-known works: The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, The FOOT Book, Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You? and Fox in Socks. Five classics, no waiting. Well, depending on one's WiFi speed, anyway.

This collection is on the App Store right now for $11.99. I know it may seem like a lot, but buying each of these omBooks individually would cost around $15 or so. And that's after the price drops in celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday. Anyone with an appreciation for all things Seuss should certainly check this out.

Get the Inside Scoop And An Exclusive Fruit Ninja Chapter from Buttonless

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on November 10th, 2011

Buttonless: Incredible iPhone and iPad Games and the Stories Behind Them is coming out December 21 (and available for pre-order now) to bookstores and online retailers everywhere. It's a book about iOS games and their stories by Ryan Rigney, a freelance journalist who has covered the video-game industry from every angle for publications and sites including Gamasutra, PC Gamer and GamePro. We managed to talk with him for a bit about the inspirations for the book, among other things. Click through to the post for the interview AND an exclusive chapter from the upcoming book, all about Fruit Ninja.

Harold and the Purple Crayon GiggleApps Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on September 2nd, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Harold and the Purple Crayon is a wondrous and thoughtful adaptation of the classic 1955 children’s book of the same name that had been developed into an interactive storybook, now a universal application.

I remember Harold and the Purple Crayon from my childhood and have shared this story with my son as well. Few children’s books that I can think of beg to be

turned into an interactive storybook as much as this one does, and I have been eagerly waiting for this to be developed into a universal app, knowing that at some point this was bound to happen.

I am very eager to introduce this app to readers who may not know of its existence. It is the perfect experience that I expected with every element thoughtfully conceived, making this book a joy to share with my son.

Read the full review at GiggleApps.

Moo, Baa, La, La, La Book Review

Posted by Nick Papageorge on June 9th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

I'm going to come right out and say this. I love Sandra Boynton. To me, she is the most prolific children's story writers to come out in this generation, specifically for younger children. I put her alongside Dr. Seuss and Robert Munsch, and that's high praise.

"Moo, Baa, La, La, La" is produced by Loud Crow, the makers of the PopOut! book series (Peter Rabbit, Night Before Christmas, etc). Their books have been showcased by Apple for a reason, they are top notch in quality and production values. Designed to simulate a real "pop-up" type book, they include characters that spring when you touch them, tabs that move various parts of the book, and windows, doors and such that open and close. It really does give the books a tactile feel, and I honestly believe these books have more interactive elements than most on the app store.

It's clear that "Moo, Baa" is a silly book. It starts out normal, with a cow saying "Moo", a sheep saying "Baa", but the next page you lift up a curtain and it's 3 singing pigs saying "La, La, La!".

Like with most books in the app store, you can choose to read it yourself or have "The Big Guy Read it" for you. This book has an especially special narrator, Sandra Boynton's son, Keith (trivia fact, Sandra's middle name is Keith).

Inside, interaction ranges from touching Rinos to hear them Snort and Snuff, pulling back dogs like a slingshot to send them running at 2 cats saying "Meow". As the dogs leap after them, they leave their collars behind to hang in mid-air, a very cute touch.

Like most "board books", it's short, coming it at about 12 pages, but it's no slouch. Each page offers so much to the touch, almost everything you see does something, even if it's as little as a sound. My daughters spent probably twice as long enjoying the pages, the interaction, the art and the humorous sounds as they did of just the story. Hearing them laugh while touching each of the singing pigs at the start never gets old.

Now, the story itself is probably targeted to younger children around the age of 1 - 4, because of its simple language. The sentences are simple and they mostly consist of animal sounds except for the last of the book. It's a magical ending and one that will yield different results for everyone who reads it.

I would like to make it clear that even though the book is designed for younger children, you don't have to be young to enjoy it. My daughters are 6 and it is still one of their favorites. Because they're now fairly advanced readers, they're able to read the entire story easily and without having to struggle. In the path to learn how to read, I find this is far more important than pushing kids to read longer words before they're ready. I figure they'll probably be done with the book in a year, but between the physical book and this, I've gotten an easy 5 years out of it, not a lot of books that have that kind of staying power.

So, is "Moo, Baa, La, La, La" worth your $3? Yes, yes and yes. It's a simple story that's an amazing read for children, especially ones who are very young. It scales to older children who are learning how to read, and allows for easy comprehension. The app design is great, and the interaction is one of the best on the app store. You owe it to yourself, and your kids, to check it out.

The Going to Bed Book Review

Posted by Nick Papageorge on June 7th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

"The Going to Bed Book" is one of two Sandra Boynton books available on the app store (the other is "Moo, Baa, La, La, La") and like "Moo, Baa" it is a fantastic book with top notch production value that takes a great story and adds some unique and wonderful interactive elements, making it a joy to read both as a parent and for our children.

"The Going to Bed Book" is produced by Loud Crow Interactive, the makers of the PopOut! series (Peter Rabbit, Night Before Christmas, etc). Loud Crow has been featured in the app of the week as well as New And Noteworthy because they're fantastic. They are designed to simulate a real "pop-up" type book, with characters that spring from the page, tabs to move back and forth, windows/doors to open. It really does give the books a tactile feel, and I honestly believe there is more interactivity in their books than almost any on the app store to date.

As with most of Sandra Boynton's books, they are very silly, and "Going to Bed" is no different. It's a story about a boat full of about 10 animals getting ready to go to bed. You get to follow them through quite a few different activities to get them there, starting with scrubbing them clean in the bath to scrubbing their teeth in the sink.

This interaction in the book is similar, in a very good way, to the PopOut! book series. There's not a single page that's left out from interaction. You can tilt your iPad and it'll swing a chain that's hanging, you can touch on an animal and they'll bounce like they're on a spring. Another you touch will squeak, moo or make some other sound. I hate to spoil this, but it's too good not to talk about... At one point in the bathroom, you get to turn on the hot water tap and very slowly and subtly, it starts to fog up the entire iPad screen. It's terrifically realistic and once it's done, you... I mean, your kids, get to use their fingers as a squeegee to clean off the screen. Yes, it's silly, but it's a really nice touch.

The story is about 13 pages long and allows you to either read it yourself or "Have the Big Guy Read It". The narrator is perfect as his voice is deep, warm and inviting, like the perfect grandpa. With the narration off, you can touch on each of the words to hear them spoken aloud, something I find important in the path to learning how to read.

On that note, the language in the book is very simple. There is more of a complete story here than you'll find in "Moo, Baa", but the language is still very easy to understand and comprehend. I'd still say the age range for the direct target would be 1 - 4, but I can confidently say that this would be a hit for children as young as 6 months to as old as 6 or 7 years old. My daughters still absolutely love it and I believe they will at 7, a testament to the quality of the story and humor.

It is clear by now that I'm smitten with these books. But it's not that I'm blinded by the author, if the books weren't good I'd be the first to say it. But they are good. No, they're great. They're experiences that shaped my daughter's early years of reading, and I hope that you'll find they do the same for yours, too.

Book Crawler Review

Posted by Gianna LaPin on May 18th, 2011

Developer: Jaime Stokes
Price: $1.99
Version: 3.3
App Reviewed on: iPod Touch 4g
iPhone Integration Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarstar
[rating:overall]

Those of us with extensive book libraries, or even casual book lovers who like to keep track of their literary adventures, have just been given a brand new reason to love our iOS devices. Book Crawler, by Jaime Stokes, is a full-featured book cataloging program packed with thoughtful features. For starters, Book Crawler offers several powerful ways to get books into the application. Hardy souls can input the books manually, filling in nearly two dozen input fields by hand. The more impatient of us will be happy to hear that we can also search and add through Google Books or opt to make use of the built-in ISBN scanner camera on our iOS device. Book Crawler comes with zbar by default, but suggests that users download pic2shop as an alternative. I tried both and had much better luck with pic2shop. If you accidentally scan the wrong barcode (there can be as many as 5 on a single book), a helpful error message will set you straight. Users planning on adding a large number of books at once should check the Settings screen on the home screen for the “batch input” field, as it provides a smoother data entry workflow. Any book with a ISBN/ASIN number, even Kindle books, can be cataloged.

Once a book is recognized via manual or scanned input, it is added to the collection. Depending on the data source some fields may be empty, including fields the app expects to be filled in by the user, such as the star rating. Book Crawler offers an almost obscene number of ways to tag, filter, sort, categorize, flag and otherwise hack and slash a literary collection. Besides the option of user-defined tags and “smart” (self-populating) categories, users also have two completely undefined custom fields, an undefined off-on switch, a decimal field, date field, and a URL field. This kind of extensibility should make it accommodate any bibliophile’s arcane classification system.

Once we get our books in to Book Crawler, it gives us some handy options for getting them out. For example, it lets bookworms share books with the world via Twitter (using the #bookcrawler hashtag) and Facebook, as well as through boring old email. It integrates with the Goodreads review service and lets users see if that particular book is stocked at the local library, via WorldCat (which mysteriously didn’t pick up on any library closer to me than 70 miles away, so YMMV).

Once there’s about a dozen books in the app, it’s time to start looking for the backup and export options, which Book Crawler has in spades. It’s flexibility in this regard almost makes me overlook the fact that it has no companion desktop application for easy data entry, although any literary cataloging system worth its salt would probably generate (and ingest) a CSV if you asked it to. I was pleased to see that the app natively syncs to Dropbox.

Overall, Book Crawler’s user interface is nearly watertight, making it a delight to use. There’s one particular sequence of screens which tripped me up a few times (I couldn’t find the “Home” button) but other than that I have no complaints. I see a bright future ahead for Book Crawler and hope its developers will consider the addition of companion web-based, or desktop, app for data entry and backup purposes.

Global Warming Awareness on iOS with Al Gore's Our Choice

Posted by Kevin Stout on May 3rd, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: INFORMATIVE EYE-CANDY :: Read Review »

The Our Choice app is Al Gore’s book on global warming converted to an interactive app. The book examines causes of global warming and solutions in the works to stop it. Gore touches on subjects like solar power, nuclear power, wind power, biomass energy, deforestation, and more. The physical book itself is #1 in books on climatology on Amazon.com and #10 in public policy.

The app is packed with features. Al Gore’s commentary, read by Gore himself, is available throughout the app. Pictures and videos pop out and are occasionally accompanied by commentary. Info-graphics are sprinkled throughout the app with various data about global warming and related topics. The app also includes over an hour of documentary footage.

Basically anything in the app can be “picked up” and uses multi-touch in some way: pictures can flip over or fold out, one can zoom out to the visual table of contents, finding the location of a picture can be done by tapping a globe, etc. Push Pop Press, the developers of the app, call it “the next generation of digital books.”

On the Push Pop Press website, names, information, and pictures of each chapter are available. Take a quick scan through what the app consists of before taking the plunge to buy it. The app is selling for $4.99 and is available for both the iPhone and iPad. With the paperback on sale for about $15, it seems a steal to get the book plus all of these extra features for only $5. Al Gore describes the app in the video below.

Loris and the Runaway Ball Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on May 2nd, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Loris and the Runaway Ball is a simple and lovely universal storybook app about the dangers of running into the street after a run-away ball.

As a parent, one of my biggest concerns is that my fearless child will run into the street to collect a stray ball or other toy and get hit by an oncoming car. As much as we talk about this in order to reinforce this important lesson, I worry that it is never enough for this utterly crucial message to sink in.

This is a sweet story, told from the point-of-view of a loving older brother Lincoln, about how one day he is playing with his little sister Loris and their ball rolls into the street, and now lincoln needs to save his sister from her horrible decision to go after the ball. Luckily the older brother does get to his sister just in time, something I have not yet had to do, and hope I never have to.

Read the full review at GiggleApps!

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An Unofficial GameSalad Textbook Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Chris Hall on February 23rd, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: HEAVY
An Unofficial GameSalad Textbook is a nice resource to have, but it definitely needs some editing and a redesign to be worth the high price.
Read The Full Review »

A Christmas Carol for iPad Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Joey Davidson on December 14th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: STEAMPUNKY
A classic Christmas tale is given an interactive, if misguided, presentation.
Read The Full Review »

Cookbookie Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Chris Kirby on December 3rd, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: UNDERCOOKED
Wins my vote for most under-realized concept of the year.
Read The Full Review »

MangaBlade for iPad Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Chris Kirby on December 1st, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PRETTY SHARP
On the surface, it appears to be the very best manga reader out there. However, there are some technical issues that have to be addressed before it can hold that honor.
Read The Full Review »

Dracula: The Official Stoker Family Edition for iPad Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Chris Kirby on December 1st, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: AHEAD OF THE CURVE
The future of the ebook is here, like it or not.
Read The Full Review »