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Cozmo’s Day Off Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on February 10th, 2011

Cozmo’s Day Off is a really fun and creative space-themed universal application which includes both a story as well as numerous highly engaging interactions and mini-games.

I love the look of this app; the illustrations are great as are the various interactions one can find by tapping around the pages. I like that some of the interactions are different each time they are tapped and are sometimes rather involved as well with multiple things happening from just one touch. The look of this app has a nice 1950’s space theme and I like looking at all the retro elements, including a few that remind me of an earlier steampunk style as well. The music as well as the narration is excellent and it is fun that one can change the pitch of the narrator’s voice as well as your own if you choose to make your own recording. Mini-games are also included throughout the app as well as some highly creative and unique elements. One will just have to tap to explore for himself; just be sure to touch and explore everything on the screen. Check out the “help” section if you want direction in finding the interactions that these pages contain. I greatly appreciate this information being included and wish a section like this would be part of app interactive apps.

Read the full review right here on GiggleApps.

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.

The Bronto Family Adventure Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on October 22nd, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

The Bronto Family Adventure is a nice book app about Jax Bronto and his dinosaur family as they go on an adventure. Children can choose to be read to or read this story to themselves, and there is a short peek-a-boo themed game your child can play as well.

This app includes nicely drawn, simple illustrations, and the narration is pleasant. My son enjoys listening to the story, and I appreciate the mild suspense created as Jax gets lost after roaming away from his parents. The ending is a happy one, but is does gently remind children not to wander too far away from mom and dad. I like the idea of being able to either listen to or read this story to my child, and when my son gets older, he can read this now familiar story to himself.

Read the Full Review on GiggleApps

Mother Goose Reader Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on September 8th, 2010
iPad App - Designed for iPad

"Mother Goose Reader" is a lovely, content-rich children's app for the iPad that introduces 20 classic Mother Goose Rhymes to children. Each rhyme is illustrated nicely, and there are a lot of hidden sounds to tap on and games to play, including shape, letter and size sorting, puzzles, memory games and drum pad. The rhymes can both be sung or spoken, and you have the option of doing your own recordings. The text is highlighted as the rhyme is sung/read, making it easy to follow along.

I really enjoy this app because I want my son (2 1/2) to be exposed to these classics. This app does a nice job in reciting the full versions of these rhymes, not just the first verse. My son really enjoys tapping all over the pages looking for the sounds and music. He also loves the hidden games and sometimes asks me to find them for him as soon as he opens up this application, the index of hidden games makes this easy, a nice touch!

I occasionally have mild problems flipping between pages, either doing so accidentally or not knowing where to tap. Grey triangles are sometimes present in the top corners of the screen to aid in page turning, I wish they were always on the screen to be seen.

Melvin Says There’s Monsters Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on September 7th, 2010
iPad App - Designed for iPad

"Melvin Says There’s Monsters" is a wonderful story book app! The production value is top notch, with vivid, well-drawn illustrations, effective music and just enough moving animations to add to the story without being distracting. The story has quickly become one of my all-time favorites in any form, application or not.

This story is about a boy named Melvin who convincingly tells stories about monsters to the kids at school, and is told from the point-of-view of one of the other students. The narration and the story are both excellent, reminding me a great deal in both the style and humor of my favorite family movie, Jean Shepherd’s “The Christmas Story.” I also really like that there is a moral to this book about how to treat each other, but it is organic to the story and not at all preachy.

My 2 1/2 year old son enjoys this app, but I think I may enjoy it more than he does. There are many places in this story where I laugh out loud because it is wonderfully written. I really hope the developers come up with more stories; the quality here is as high as it gets.

Captain Duck Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on August 3rd, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

The duck is back! “Captain Duck” is a story book app based on the popular children’s book written and illustrated by Jez Alborough from HarperCollins Publishers.  “Captain Duck” is a continuation of  Alborough’s  book and iPhone app “Duck in the Truck.” This story begins where “Duck in the Truck” left off, with the duck out of the muck, but now his truck needs gas. He stops by his friend Goat’s house to borrow some, and along the way invites himself on a boating trip with his old friends from the first story. All I can say is that antics ensue, and it is great fun watching it all unfold.

My son may enjoy “Captain Duck” even more because there is some real slapstick humor happening and even some drama and suspense. Without giving anything away, there is a point in the story where the tone changes, my son’s eyes grow wide and he gets very quiet, extremely engrossed in the story. Beautifully illustrated and with a lot to tap on, the animals “speak” as they move across the screen, and there are many other ingenious sound effects as well. The  narration is superb, but you have the option of reading it yourself as well. If one is looking for an entertaining story book for an iPhone, I recommend “Captain Duck."