Archive | November, 2012

Far To The North – PicPocket Books

25 Nov Far to the North by Gina Ricci - PicPocket Books cover image

Far to the North app iconI love reading stories to my children.  We read a couple of stories most nights, and we often read and explore eBook apps together at other times during the day.  The interactive elements of eBooks can add meaning to text and bring a lot to the reading experience.  Still, when you are trying to settle and calm your children, you might not want them tapping all over the screen.  At those times, you need a story that is simple with not much fuss.  Today I am reviewing an eBook app that fits this category, and is one my children have come to love.

Far to the North by Gina Ricci, is simple story about polar bears, and how they spend their day before settling down for the night.  The beautiful illustrations are enchanting, and the narration is clear and expressive.  The background music plays seamlessly through the app, and adds to the relaxing tone of the story.  Slideshow-like in operation, the only interactivity you will get is swiping to turn the pages.  There are some beautiful, subtle animations that form part of the illustrations, but there is nothing to be tapped or dragged on the pages.  The story is not Christmas-related, but it does seem to fit the whole “North Pole” theme that seems to be prevalent at this time of year. Continue reading

Professor Kim – What’s Missing Here?

23 Nov

There are many early concept apps available to the point where we are spoilt for choice due to the sheer number of similar apps.  Still, it can be possible to search for an app for a particular skill and not find it.  What do you do?  If you are Kristin Heitmann of Apppmedia (Apples, Peaches, Pears and Plums), you make your own.  Kristin wanted an app for her children that resembled Kim’s games.  Named after the character in Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel, Kim, the game involves studying items on a table or tray, then covering them and identifying what is on the tray.  In a different version, an item is taken away and you need to find what is missing.  The games promote observation and memory skills.  This is the type of activity Kirstin couldn’t find, so she designed Professor Kim – What’s Missing Here?.


Children are presented with a number of items and then must find the item that is NOT on the screen from the picture menu in front of them.  There are several levels of difficulty.  Each level puts an extra picture on the screen and in the list.  On level 1, children look at three items on the screen and select from a list of four items.  By the time you get to level five, children are looking at seven items on the screen and selecting from a list of 8.  The 6th level doesn’t add an item, but uses silhouettes on the screen.  Correct answers result in a green light and a fish token.  If you answer incorrectly, the red light flashes and you get the fish bones instead.  There is also a time bar for each puzzle.  If you have not identified the missing item before the bar runs out, it gives you a new screen to look at.  Levels are unlocked as you progress through the app.

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Two Christmas Freebies

15 Nov

I know it is early, but since our Australian schools break up in December, our teachers are already starting to discuss Advent and Christmas, and parents are planning holiday activities. I’ll be looking at festively themed resources for your iPods, iPads, and iPad Minis, along with a few suggestions that might be handy as Christmas gifts. Today, I’m going to highlight two festive and fun things for your iPads, iPhones and iPods. Both of these are favourites of mine, and are free, so enjoy.

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A Charlie Brown Christmas – Loud Crow Interactive

12 Nov

A Charlie Brown Christmas - Loud CrowIf you are a fan of the 1965 classic movie, A Charlie Brown Christmas, then you are going to love this story app from Loud Crow. I’ve been waiting all year to review this one, as it is one of my favourite apps ever, and one of the first apps I ever purchased.  I rate it highly, not only in terms of supportive features for early readers, but for entertainment value as well.   Continue reading

Educational App Sale to support Hurricane Sandy Relief

9 Nov

Several Educational app developers have teamed up to raise funds to support the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.  For the 8th and 9th of November,   TOTAL sales of selected apps will go to the relief fund.  For a full list of developers and apps involved, please check out the Jellybean Tunes website.

I have not personally used all the apps on the list, but I’m going to highlight the ones I do know of.  I’m sure the others are of high-quality too.

4th Grade Science Reading Comprehension app icon4th Grade Science Reading Comprehension - Abitalk IncorporatedAbiTalk are donating proceeds from their 4th Grade Science Reading Comprehension app to the appeal.  This is an iPad only app.  I own several AbiTalk apps and I am intending on reviewing them soon.  I find them very handy and my children enjoy using them.  If you would like to try before you buy, you should download the free lite version of the app.


Golden Communications LLC are donating proceeds from both of their iPad apps, both priced at $1.99.  I reviewed Enchanted Dictionary 4-6th Grade earlier this year.  Here is a basic rundown of both apps.

Enchanted Dictionary 4-6th Grade - Golden Communications LLCEnchanted Dictionary 4 – 6th Grade

Dictionary Game where students rearrange words to form (sentences) definitions of words.  More than 650 words are organised alphabetically in Subject Categories and Subcategories.  You can also add you own words and definitions in any category or subcategory, or you can create your own categories and subcategories related to specific topics, themes and subjects.  Although the App is designed for children in years 4 to 6, it is useful for a wider range of ages.

Enchanted Dictionary 7-12th Grade - Golden Communications LLCEnchanted Dictionary 7-12th Grade

Similar to the above version, but featuring content related to subjects covered in high school.  There are over 800 words available and, as in the 4th – 6th Grade version, you can add your own words and definitions, and your own categories and subcategories.


I own both of the apps Melissa Northway is including in this appeal.  Both are entertaining eBooks suitable for early childhood.  Again, I haven’t reviewed them yet but they are “on the list.”  In the meantime, take my word for it that they are lots of fun.  There are separate versions for each of  the titles for iPhone and iPad.  The links to the iTunes store are beside each app. Please excuse the departure from my usual formatting, but I have to rush this blog post off before I head off again.

Penelope the Purple Pirate is available for iPad for $2.99, and iPhone for $1.99  Check out the YouTube trailer  below to see the quality you will be getting with this app.

Gerry the Giraffe is the other of Melissa’s apps that is equally as charming as Penelope. It is available for iPad for $2.99 and iPhone for $1.99.

The apps above are just a sample of those involved with this appeal.  Please check the list at Jellybean Tunes to see the full list of developers and apps, including  a few by Jellybean Tunes themselves.

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