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Curio Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jason Wadsworth on December 22nd, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: CRAZY
Escape a mental asylum and insanity at the same time by running as far as possible without letting Ron lose his wits.
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Get into the Spirit Hands (and Eyes) Free with Tales2Go - Happy Holidays

Posted by Rob Rich on November 23rd, 2011

Ah, mid-November. The time of year when everyone starts buzzing about gift exchanges, menorahs, fat guys in red suits and all manner of "tidings." Yessir, nothing like getting the holiday into full-swing before December. Suffice it to say, I'm personally not very thrilled with the practice of jumping the gun. But just because I'm morally opposed to shoving holiday cheer down the throats of the masses well over five weeks too early doesn't mean I'm against general preparations. And what better way to prepare for the inevitable and lengthy trip to a distant relative's house for a seasonal meal then to have an assortment of topical audiobooks on-hand?

Tales2Go is a fairly popular subscription-based (1,600+ books and counting) kids audiobook app in its own right, but Tales2Go - Happy Holidays is something a little different. This is a stand-alone app, with no subscription fee needed to access the 20 different stories contained within. These include The Night Before Christmas, A Christmas Carol, The Gift of the Magi (read by Jim Weiss), The Story of Hanukkah (read by Joel Ben Izzy) and many, many more.

Tales2Go - Happy Hoidays is already available, and all of these audiobooks can be had for a total of $0.99. That's one dollar for 20 audiobooks. It might seem a tad too soon for this kind of stuff, but it couldn't hurt to be ready once it's time to jump in the car and drive 14 hours to grandma's house.

Above and Beyond: John Kascht Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Lisa Caplan on October 10th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: SATIRIC EYE CANDY
You may not know the name but you know the caricatures. This beautiful interactive audio book is easy on the eyes.
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John Henry Review

Posted by Chris Kirby on December 20th, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad

iPhone Integration Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Re-use Value Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar

John Henry does almost everything right. First off, it's a universal app, so it plays perfectly on both the iPhone and the iPad. Second, it's priced at only $0.99, which is an absolute bargain compared to buying a physical hardback children's book. Third, it's wildly entertaining and provides three distinct options for experiencing its content. This is an excellent app that is sure to delight children as well as their parents.

If you're unfamiliar with the story of John Henry, he's one of the great folk heroes of America's early industrial period. A "Steel-Drivin' Man," John Henry could hammer railroad spikes faster than any man or any machine. The myth of this man who could defeat machines spoke to an America first encountering the possibility of machines replacing workers, and that myth still speaks to us today.

This version of the John Henry story was first published as a book with a cassette read-a-long with Denzel Washington, but developer Ruckus Media has merged several media together to create an app that stands well on its own. You can, of course, choose to read the book in a conventional manner, flipping pages and reading along. Or, you can watch the story's artwork go into motion (in a limited, but still effective way) in a 20 minute animated version narrated by Denzel Washington with wonderful music written and performed by B.B. King. Or, you (or your child) can record your own narration to accompany the images in the story. All are terrific ways to get children interested in the story, and even interact with it at some level.

If you have children, or even if you simply appreciate the value and beauty of a good children's book, this is a no-brainer. John Henry for the iPhone/iPad is a welcome addition to the growing library of apps devoted to translating books to Apple's electronic devices. And even John Henry would appreciate the fact that machines still need a human touch.