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  Lvl 6 - Master

Kerry E.

Status: Beta reviewer

Categories of apps she/he wants to review: Books - Education - Entertainment - Lifestyle - Photography - Productivity - Utilities - Other

iDevices she/he owns: iPad1- iPad3- iPhone4S

Description: I am a Spanish translator with a background in editing/proofreading, graphic design and typesetting. My family is very much into Macs, iPhones and iPads. My interests include fitness, cooking and music. I love watching my three kids learn about new subjects thanks to the wonderful educational apps that can be found in the App Store.

Profile categories: Can test apps with kids ages 3-5 - Can test apps with kids ages 6-10 - Teaching kids ages 3-5 - Teaching kids ages 6-10

Date when her/his profile was validated: 2012-05-18

User who invited him/her: Jean-Eudes L.

Total review Karma: + 21     ?

Each time a developer thinks a review from a reviewer is useful, he give to this reviewer +1 in review Karma. The more Karma a reviewer has, the better her/his reviews are assessed!


Her/His app reviews

Bo's Dinnertime v 1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The arrows at the top of the pages to go back and forth between pages are easy for children to see, and the app is very intuitive that way. I like how there are a variety of fine motor activities for the kids.  It's wonderful how Bo changes what he is eating for dinner and for dessert. It really gives kids an opportunity to practice colors and shapes.
Improvements When you're at the grocery store, and catching food in the cart, the food falls behind the cart and then shows up in it. It looks a bit odd that way.  I would also like to see an option where the child could drag unwanted items into the cart, and have the app say oops or try again.  I would just like to see more options of having the child mess up and then be corrected.  The dinner table puzzle is another example of this.
General review This app can be played over and over again. My children had a really good time with it and want to go back to it again and again. Their favorite parts are when Bo eats dinner and dessert. Bo is a very memorable character, and the kids recognized him right away. My children and I are already looking forward to the next app.

Tapikeo HD (3.01) [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This app is awesome. I love how customizable it is.  The user is easily able to make his or her own grids and record various words or sounds.  My five year old daughter really enjoyed recording her own voice on her very own grid.  Additional grids are available, either via in-app purchase or free download.  I was really impressed by how many free downloads are available.
Improvements The app can seem quite overwhelming at first, simply due to the sheer number of options available.  I would like to see a tutorial window pop up upon opening the app, with an option of "Never show this again", only because the question mark help icons were not readily apparent to myself or my kids, and we floundered around for a few minutes before figuring it out.
General review I think this is a wonderful app for teaching children different words and sounds. My son, who just turned two, is not talking yet, and this app is a great resource for him to learn anything we want to emphasize.  I would recommend this for vocabulary purposes as well; you could teach an older child more and more advanced words through making your own grids.  The possibilities are endless.  Kudos to the developer--this app is very well done.

Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 - English [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I love how intuitive the app is. Even though it is so intuitive, a new user is immediately launched into an introduction of how the app works, which is very helpful for a child learning to navigate it on his or her own. The sheer number of lessons that you get with this one purchase is amazing!
Improvements The user can put the letters out of order if she wishes, which may be helpful for some, but I would like to see an option that a parent might turn on to have the child only be able to spell the word in order. Also, if you enter a letter out of order and then have to delete a letter that comes before that last one, you end up having to delete everything, which is a little annoying. That situation wouldn't arise if the option mentioned previously were implemented.
General review This is a wonderful app for someone just learning to spell. I can already see my beginning speller (five-year-old) improving by leaps and bounds after just a handful of lessons. I can't wait to see what she can do after going through the whole program. It really is a tremendous amount of content for a relatively low price.

Bo's Bedtime Story [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I really liked all the game options for my kids. There's matching, color recognition, sorting, a maze, dress-up options, and more. I have a five-year-old, three-and-a-half-year-old, and an almost two-year-old, and they were all entertained for quite a bit of time. It's very helpful how the narrator explains the task at hand, so the children understand what is expected of them.
Improvements In the first game, where you have to sort blocks, doll, and cars, the object isn't considered sorted until it's in an exact spot at the top of the bin. My children all had trouble getting it where it was supposed to be. I would like to see it sorted when it's just on the bin; as it is right now, it was somewhat confusing and frustrating for my kids.
General review I'm a big fan of this app. I think it can be played over and over again, especially for a child's own bedtime routine. My kids were all very engaged and entertained by all the different games. My girls especially loved the dress up game with all of the various outfits. I would recommend the app for ages three and up, only because it is a bit advanced for my two-year-old's motor skills and comprehension.

Alphabet Jumbled v1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked What a wonderful alphabet app! I like how the letter is repeated when you tap on each abc flash card. Repetition is wonderful for those beginning learners.  The easy jumble game is a fun, puzzle-like game wherein kids learn sorting at the same time that they learn their alphabet.  I love the jumble a-z minigame where the child must rearrange all of the letters into the correct alphabetical order. This is such a refreshingly new game. 
Improvements The letters in know your ABC's are shaped weirdly in a way to be whimsical or cutesy, and it's a little confusing for kids trying to learn the real shapes of the letters.  For example, the h looks like an n.  When rearranging the alphabet, the letter has to be placed exactly between two letters, which was confusing to my child when she knew she had the right letter but it was marking it as incorrect.  The sound when selecting a game on the homepage is funny and not in a good way...I would suggest changing it.
General review This is a wonderful app for children ages two and up to learn the alphabet. My only minor gripe is that some of the letters are shaped in such a way to be a little bit confusing, for example, the "h" looks kind of like an "n".  My five-year-old daughter absolutely adored the jumble A-Z game, and went back to it many times.  I would love to see capital letters added in an update. This app is definitely going into our regular rotation!

The Waterhole - Graeme Base (1.2 iPad) [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The illustrations in this app are absolutely fabulous. I can't get over how beautiful the animals and landscapes are.  This story is very well written, and my children loved counting each animal on every page.  It is an excellent way for children to learn numbers and develop an appreciation for art. The animatch game was a big hit with my three and five year olds.
Improvements
The frog hopping game was a complete disappointment for all of us. Nobody could figure it out. I would like to see some hints at the bottom that the user could access to be able to play it.  The hidden animals were very difficult for my children to find.  They had fun tapping all over the place, but they weren't able to find much.  Differing levels of intensity would be great so that both younger and older kids could find the animals.
General review I really have a great appreciation for art, and the illustrations in this app are quite breathtaking.  The app also has a very enjoyable matching game with additional illustrations.  I would definitely recommend reading this book and introducing your children to numbers, counting and art, all in the same app.  The hidden animals are a little hard to find, and the frog game is confusing, but overall this app is one that my children and I enjoy.

Budget Balance, version : 1.2 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This app has a lot of good initial ideas as far as budgeting goes.  There is a lot of information, which is covered in a help section that the user can go to if he or she is confused.  However, I really have to say that there was not much that I liked about the app. I don't think the ideas were well implemented.
Improvements This app needs a lot of improvement. The help section is riddled with grammar errors and typos, and as a professional proofreader, upon reading the help section, it is unlikely that I would keep the app on my device.  I understand having a typo here and there, but there's really no excuse for how many there are.  If you can get past the typos, the help section is still confusing, and it creates more questions than answers. I would say the help section needs to totally be redone.
General review Honestly, I think the actual app has a lot of great ideas. But the execution of those ideas is poor. The help section was so confusing that I had a hard time understanding how to use the app. I think if the developer revamps the help section, this could be a good app. It does have great potential.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Factory: Place Value (v1.0) [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I really appreciate how this app can help a child with mathematics in many different ways.  I know it says age six and up, but my five and a half year old daughter had fun with it, also.  I would think that ages five and up could use it with parental supervision.  This is a wonderful app for learning addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Improvements I wish that the explanation for how the app works was more extensive.  I felt like you really have to muddle around trying to figure out how to do each stage.  For example, counting was supposed to be the easiest one, yet the app froze several times while trying to do it, and it was confusing.   Even when we were tapping on the cookies, the count never went up.
General review This is a wonderful app for helping your child understand numbers higher than 20, which my kindergartner needs. I love the options for tens, hundreds, thousands and many more.  This app could be used with five-year-olds as well, as long as you're doing it with them. I plan on using it with my daughter to help her with math.  The app is confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's great.

Be a Buddy, Not a Bully -- A Tales of Midlandia Storybook v0.9 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The illustrations are gorgeous. I really like that there's a map at the beginning that shows the reader where exactly the farms are in relation to the rest of the town. The fact that the part that you are supposed to press next glows for you is very helpful for little ones who are reading or first time readers of the story.
Improvements In the part of the story where Buck starts throwing ears of corn at Harvest, it's not real evident at first that you are supposed to press the other buttons in order for Harvest to dodge the ears of corn.  I understood it after a couple seconds because I'm an adult, but I don't know that a small child would understand without a little bit of explanation... maybe just a sentence saying, help Harvest dodge the ears of corn by either jumping or ducking.
General review I really like how the story would teach children to go to an adult when someone is bullying them and explain the situation. I also like how the chief gave Buck a chance to read about how Harvest had felt about the bullying, and let Buck think about the way he had acted and remedy the situation by himself.  I highly recommend reading this story with your child, whether they are being bullied or not.  Very well done!

Preschool Kitty 1.4 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This is a neat bunch of games including find the difference, colors, puzzles, shapes and letters.  I know my five and a half year-old is closer to the older end of the recommended age for this app, but she had a lot of fun with it and was entertained for quite a while.  I like how the puzzle game consists of many pieces, so my older daughter did not find it too easy.
Improvements It would be nice to have a main menu and be able to decide which game you want to play in which order. Also, the help button, located at the bottom right of the screen, is confusing in that it is not evident that it will repeat what the Kitty says, instead it seems like it will take you to a help menu. I would change the symbol there to a volume icon so it is clearer what it is. I know you can turn the music off on the first page, but it would be helpful to have that option on every page, if you decide later on that you don't want to hear the music.
General review I think this is a great app for learning for the recommended ages of three though six. You have to be able to understand what they're asking for in order to play the games, so unfortunately, my two-year-old is not quite ready for this app. My five-year-old loves it, though. I think it is wonderful for reinforcing basic, common concepts that preschoolers and kindergartners should know.

Healthy Creatures 1.0.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I especially am a fan of the no in app purchases or banner ads.  Having those in apps has always been a frustration for me as a parent, because my young children are forever pressing things they should not be.  It means that I will definitely be on the lookout for future apps from them. Also, my three-year-old absolutely adored this app. She and I both love the concept of playing with food without the mess or frustration. We also really like the option of choosing your own pictures to decorate, and being able to save finished masterpieces.
Improvements It forces you to be in portrait mode, and I think that the iPad is especially made for landscape mode with regard to artistic apps.  Also, it appears that once you press the play button, there isn't a way to get back to the initial screen.  An option to mute the background music would be nice as well.  When trying to rotate or make the objects bigger or smaller, it was frustrating because the objects seem to revert to the original size or become huge very easily. An option to erase the whole picture should be included as well; I had to erase them one by one when starting a new picture.
General review This is a wonderful app for encouraging artistic expression and playing with food shapes without the mess or clean up for parents.  My kids always want to play with their food at the table, and I always discourage it for obvious reasons, but this app will go into our regular rotation so that they can get that out of their system and have fun, too!  No in app purchases or banner ads is also a huge plus.

Thomas's travels in Bookland [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I really like the narrator's voice in English. It is very soothing and pleasing to the ear. The illustrations are very cute, also.  The story is very engaging, and my children enjoyed finding the interactive elements.  I especially like the twist at the end.
Improvements Right on the homepage it says, 'purchases restored', and 'purchases' is misspelled.  The icons with the books and the Facebook logo are right where little fingers will get at them and get out of the app, which I don't really care for.  The other icons for text and sound are not very obvious for little ones, and even for myself, it was hard to get the sound working at first. Also, it seems to me that you should not have to press the text and sound buttons on every page.
General review This is a cute story to help children understand the worlds that they can find themselves in when they learn to immerse themselves in books.  There are also references to several famous books, which can help children get interested in those books as well.  I had a little bit of difficulty restoring my purchases after I bought the entire book, but if you give it a couple of minutes, it will work.

Heidi story collection - 3 in 1, Version 1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I like how there is an option for more advanced readers with more text. Also, when you turn the sound off, I like how the app lets you know where to touch to access each interactive element and in what order.  The option for the less advanced readers is nice to have, and I like how it lets you know exactly where on the page the narrator is reading. The sheer volume of content in this app is amazing!
Improvements Perhaps when the text is being read by the narrator, it would be helpful for there to be an option for it to turn off automatically if the interactive elements have been pressed, just so there's not so much confusion and people talking over one another.  The little girl's accent in English has her saying the word 'with' as 'wif' and 'truth' as 'troof', which may be a little confusing to those just learning to pronounce words, but it's a very minor gripe.
General review This may be a little pricier than a lot of other apps, but you get a lot of content in return.  You get access to spot the difference games, jokes, quizzes, and lots of real-life information about Heidi's village, Switzerland, animals and nature, and much, much more.  The stories themselves are fantastic and extremely well done. My girls were enthralled.  Highly recommended.

MyCQs v1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I love how intuitive this app is. The introductory section is brief and to the point, and you can get started on creating your own tests quickly and easily.  The community section, where you can gain access to other tests that people have created and uploaded for the purpose of sharing, is great, too.  This app has great potential, and can be used for all ages.
Improvements The app did crash when I was trying to access a fellow user's quiz in the community section. This may be due to the iCloud problem that was addressed in the introduction of the app; I'm not sure.  Also, this app has tremendous potential in terms of social interaction, but there aren't currently a lot of quizzes in the community section.  I attribute this to the newness of the app, and I expect when word-of-mouth gets around that it will become a lot bigger and therefore users will have access to many more quizzes.
General review This is a great app for educational purposes, and also just for fun. All ages can use it---parents may need to create quizzes for their younger children, but other than that, the app is extremely intuitive, and it is very easy to create one's own quiz.  I created preschool and kindergarten quizzes, and I can see the usefulness for higher education as well.  Highly recommended.

Wubbzy's Space Adventure [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I really like how the text is highlighted as the narrator reads each word. This is very useful for my kindergartner and preschooler who are both learning to read and recognize words and letters.  The animations are super cute and entertaining.  The games are fun and a nice break from the narration of the book.
Improvements The minigame "Space Craze" in the middle of the book is a little advanced for my almost 4-year-old.  The obstacles are going a little bit too fast for her---just my observation.  It would be nice to have an option to slow them down a little bit for younger children. I would love to see another one or two minigames added in a future version. I really don't have any other dislikes; the app is very well done.
General review This is a really cute app, even if you have not seen the original Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! show. There's a book, mini games, painting, and catchy videos with songs. I love the grownup's corner at the end of the book. There are questions to consider for little ones and not so little ones. It's a great conversation starter.  Also, the words are highlighted in the book as the narrator reads them. This is very helpful for beginning readers. 

Chabadabada [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This is a very original take on the classic tale of "Puss in Boots".  The hidden animations are very engaging, and my four-year-old was enthralled with finding out what was new on each page.  The option to turn off the sound completely is nice for when you're in a situation where you need that.  I love that there is an option to listen to it in French as well as English.
Improvements When you click on contents, the "x" to get out of it is not very evident at first. It also was not very responsive when I was trying to tap it, although it did close after a few tries.  The same is true for the language options. Also, if you want the narrator to read to you, you shouldn't have to click that option again on the very next page.  It should remain open until you decide not to have it at all anymore.
General review I think that this app is maybe better for ages four and up, since the storyline is a bit long and advanced for the younger ones, in my personal opinion.  I do think that elementary school-aged children would find it very humorous. My four year old daughter enjoyed the castle, the drawings, and the music.

The Legend of Momotaro - Version 1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Wow, this app is really neat!  I am a translator by profession, so I really appreciate the language capabilities.  I really like the ability to practice drawing the Kenji symbols, and hear the Japanese words pronounced.  The interactive elements are great for little fingers, and were very much enjoyed.
Improvements On the first page under instructions, there are a couple of typos.  It should be "to get the most OUT of" and then "slide your finger left or right ACROSS the screen." This is only the second screen that I saw, so it was a real turnoff, and I wondered if the rest of the app would be full of mistakes. Luckily, it wasn't!
General review The illustrations in this book are fabulous. It makes the story very realistic and enjoyable.  The children really enjoyed being able to scroll back and forth across the scene, find the hidden illustrations and learn more about the Japanese language and culture.  I will recommend this app to everyone I know with young children!

Thumbelina : 3D Pop-up Fairy Tale v1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I like how you can turn the background music off if you wish, so you can hear the narrator better. The interactive games are spaced evenly throughout the book, and are a nice change from just the narration. The illustrations are really cute and are engaging to young readers.
Improvements On page 1, there should be a comma after the word "asked"; Also, I would maybe change the word "asked" to "said", since she says a statement first and then asks a question. The background music is a little bit too loud when compared to the narrator's voice. It is a little distracting at the current volume. On page 19, it should be "in a dark" instead of "in dark". Are on page 20, it should be "such a sweet voice" or "so sweet a voice."
General review This is a neat app that totally engaged all of my children. They were enthralled from the beginning all the way to the end, which is saying something, since it's 32 pages long. The kids loved all of the 3D interactive scenes. This is a great adaptation of the classic fairytale. Wonderful for young children!

Splash Money [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This is a neat concept for those just learning about money and its value.  The tutorial for how to use the app is very well done.  I like the progression of concepts, and the examples illustrate said concepts very well. The lessons prepare the students well for the tests that they are about to take.  The monkey's encouragement is a good motivator for children to get the answers right. The explanations for incorrect answers are great for helping children to understand how to improve the next time around.
Improvements The narrator speaks a little too slowly. It seems like it is just really slow going. I understand that some children will need that pace, but my five and a half year old got bored pretty easily.  She's interested in the material; I think if it moved a little bit faster, she would have been more engaged.  The accent of the narrator is a little different from what we are used to as Americans, but with time we adjusted to it.  I would like to see some tests geared toward those who can't quite read yet. My four-year-old is not able to read yet, but I think she could learn about coins and take a test if there was a section devoted to those a little bit younger.  She did sit with us and listen to the lessons quite eagerly, so I really think there is a market there for those not yet in kindergarten. In all honesty, I find that a button saying "no, I don't want to receive these awesome reports" is a little annoying. All you have to say on the button is "no, thank you." I'm much more likely to sign up for email updates from an app that does not try to guilt me into doing so. I do like the option to receive email, I just don't like the negative button. The sections in the lesson that told you to touch the coin to see the reverse side were running a little bit slowly. I did have to tap each coin at least a couple of times before it started working. All in all, though, a great app, and I will be working on it with my daughter on a regular basis.
General review What a wonderful app for those learning about money!  This is great practice for my five and half-year-old.  I highly recommend it to introduce these essential concepts to young children just learning to read or who already know how to read.  Having the option to receive periodical updates for how your child is doing via email is great as well. 

iVocAudio, your memory chum (v 2.1) [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This is a great app, not only for schooling, but for anything you might need to memorize in life in general. The intro video explains the app very well, and I felt like I had a good handle on how it works just by watching the video. Also, I like being able to customize my lists, and get ideas from finding other lists that I am then able to import. The option to send and share lists with friends and family is great. I wish I had had this app while I was still in school! :-)
Improvements The app does need to be checked for spelling errors and typos. For example, on the introductory page, it should say "Welcome to iVocAudio", "We recommend that you watch the video below…", and "minimum" is misspelled. A native English speaker needs to go over the text in the app to ensure that the English sounds natural. Also, it's a bit disconcerting when you're listening to the tutorial to have the audio suddenly get very loud and then go back to a normal level.
General review I really think the developer has thought of everything in order for someone to be able to memorize something quickly and efficiently. I am very impressed with all of the options available, such as changing the question and answer order, importing new lists, and having questions that you don't know as well come up more often so that you learn them better.

Paddle Duck in Where's Carrie Cat? An Interactive Story V1.2 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked All the interactive parts were very fun for my children. They loved being able to touch things and hear sounds and see the animations change. We really like the little song. Counting to three on two separate occasions was very fun and educational for my two-year-old. Also, I absolutely love to see an app without in-app purchases!
Improvements The acoustics in the app are a little bit off. It sounds like in some parts the voices are louder than in others. It's not to the point where it's completely off-putting, but it is noticeable, especially with the animal sounds. The accent is fun for me to listen to, but for American kids just learning to talk, the pronunciation could be a little bit confusing. An example is the word "farm", pronounced as "fahm." Also, the story ends sooner than you would expect.
General review This is a very fun little app for smaller children. The animation and interactivity are very cute, and my children enjoyed it. You might say that they were glued to the app the entire time it was on. I would like it better if the story were a little bit longer, but we definitely enjoyed what was there.

Christmas Karaoke: Christmas Carols & Christmas Songs vers 1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I love being able to sing along to the songs. It's much easier to learn them when you are following along with the lyrics and have them all in front of you. Having the information about each song's origins is a great idea and helps one learn more about Christmas.
Improvements I would really like to be able to play this app in landscape mode or at least have the option of doing so. You cannot read the credits on the credit page. They are obscured by the snowflakes. Additionally, this is not really karaoke…if it were karaoke, you wouldn't have the lead vocals still attached to the music. It should be called Christmas sing-along or something similar. Also, in the song Jingle Bells, "one horse" is shown as one word, but it should have a space in between the two words. Also, your pop up should say, "you have used this app a lot..."
General review My kids and I really enjoy this app. Every time I played a song, they got up and danced to it in its entirety. It's a neat little app that gets you in the Christmas mood. With that said, it is not karaoke in the true sense, since the lead vocals are still on most of the songs. It does help you learn your favorite Christmas songs very well and is a lot of fun for the kids.

Hedgehog Book v1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I really like how this encourages children to both learn their colors and follow directions. The illustrations are very cute and whimsical.  I can see how children would really enjoy the interactivity along with reading the book. Having the next step not be immediately evident can be a good thing for children, as they can learn to puzzle it out for themselves.
Improvements The app wouldn't let me hold the iPad in the direction I wanted to. I had to turn it upside down. I think the user should be able to view it the way they want.  Also, it's not immediately evident in the Daisy book that you have to touch the daisy to get started. I can see younger children becoming confused at what they have to do in order to keep the story moving.  We got stuck when it says to "blow mic" to comb her hair, although it finally worked. We also got stuck when it says to shake the iPad, although it does eventually work as well.
General review This is a neat story book that has three stories and a lot of interactivity. Children will enjoy getting involved and learning how to make the story progress. If you get stuck or are not sure what to do, there is a helpful question mark at the bottom of the screen. It's very good for both learning colors and learning how to follow directions.  The daisy story is the best one; the other two are rather short, but are also cute.

The Friendly Ogre [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I love how you can click on contents and see exactly how many pages are in the book, and you can go to whatever page you would like. This allows you to skip going through the entire app if you had to stop in the middle of it for some reason and is very useful. Also, being a translator, I very much appreciate the ability to listen to the story in another language. My husband speaks French, so this is a great way to introduce our children to the language.
Improvements I do really wish that you didn't have to click on the lips to read the book to you on every single page. I believe this was a complaint of mine from the last book as well. It seems to me that if you click on it at the beginning to read it to you, you would want it read to you in its entirety. Also, and this is minor, and I realize that the app having it like this is a way of being individualized and unique, but I do prefer more realistic illustrations. Lastly, the story ended rather abruptly for me.
General review This is such a cute little story. I love these developers and the way that they capture a child's imagination. You really start to feel for the characters and their situations. I absolutely recommend getting this app, and especially listening to it in French!

Meet the Insects: Village Edition (1.0.0) [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The animation in this app is simply stunning. I am in complete awe of the developers! I would love it if all apps to this high of a standard of visual communication. I think the idea to have an observation journal is rather ingenious. I know my kids will enjoy recording their observations of insects in our garden outside this spring.
Improvements There isn't a lot of negative to say about this outstanding app. I think it has been well thought out and carefully planned, and it shows. If I had to nitpick, I would say that the massive size of the app will almost certainly keep some users from buying it. I myself would probably not have bought this app, as I had to delete quite a few apps to make room for it. Also, the quiz questions are a little bit too easy, in my opinion.
General review We adore this app! It is a great way to get to know the many different species of insects. I would say that some parts, such as the info videos (length-wise), may be better suited to ages 5+, but there are many other aspects of the app that younger children can enjoy as well. I know our little family will be enjoying this app for a long time, since there is a ton of content. Everything is extremely well done, and the graphics are outstanding.

PUZZINGO Puzzles (Pro Edition) – Animated Kid’s Puzzles [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I like how the narrator tells the user exactly what they are tapping on as they are tapping on it. Also, it's neat how the app just has the user do a few puzzle pieces at a time, and then adds more as you go. We loved the little mini games when we were done with each puzzle! What a fun idea! Finally, I love how new content is going to be added every so often. We look forward to more puzzles!
Improvements I think if the user places the puzzle piece near enough to where it's supposed to be that it should be recognized by the game. It seems like it's a little too picky, especially for children with motor skill difficulties. I could see my younger children getting a little bit frustrated with repeated tries. Other than that, the app is extremely well done!
General review This app is wonderful for all children, but especially for my 2.5-year-old who has speech delays. The opportunity for him to learn a lot of core educational subjects, such as shapes, animals, etc. and have them reinforced through one of his favorite things, puzzles, is one that we will definitely not pass up. He adores puzzles, and there is so much content here, it will keep us busy for a long time. This is absolutely a five-star app!

Weather and Clock for Kids [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I like how the child can click on the food or crayons or whatever it might be on the table and have animation occur. Making well-known cities available is a great idea. Having the user be able to click on the city and see exactly what time is and what the weather is like there is so neat, not only for the little one, but for the parent, too!
Improvements I would really like it if you were able to add your own cities. I didn't see a way to do that. That way, we could see the cities that our relatives live in, since we live far away from our family. Also, it seems like there's not much to the app; I would love if there were two or three activities that you could do related to time or the weather. Maybe you could increase the price of the app to $1.99 or even a little bit higher if you added a couple of activities.
General review This is a fun, cute little app for those kids who are curious about the weather and what time it is. You can see what time it is and what the weather is like in your current location, as well as other famous cities, such as Paris. I absolutely love the other language options, since that's my profession. You can put it in Portuguese, Russian, French or English. Perfect for your little budding linguist!

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp 1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This is a wonderful app with great illustrations. The illustrations really open up the story. I absolutely love the interactivity. The ability to play with elements of the page is great not only for the kids, but for the adults who are reading the story to them. The interactive part is extremely well done.
Improvements I really do wish there was an ability to have a narrator read the story to you. I have one child who can read, but two others who cannot, and even so, it is nice to have that option. Also, the fact that the little lamp at the bottom center of the page is a home icon is not readily apparent. It could perhaps be marked better.
General review I love this story, and this app really brings life to it. The interactive elements on some of the pages are so fun for the kids to play with, and helps them maintain interest in the story as well. The illustrations are well done, and the app overall is a great way to introduce your children to this classic story.

The Lonely Beast ABC [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This is a pretty straightforward app for children learning their letters. I really appreciate the animation on each page. I think that children really enjoy those kinds of things, and it certainly helps keep their attention focused on the app. I also think it's neat to have the letters and words repeat when you tap on them again. Repetition is a great way to learn.
Improvements I do wish that there was some kind of indication that you need to swipe to the left to advance each page. There are no arrows or any text explaining what to do in this regard. I got the pages to turn by process of elimination instead of knowing what to do. I think some children might get frustrated by this. Also, "Z" is pronounced as "Zed" instead of "Zee." I don't know what this means, but it's confusing for kids to have a letter pronounced incorrectly.
General review This is a great app for kids who are learning the alphabet. They get to play with neat animations on each page, all while having their capital and lowercase letters reinforced. This is a good alphabet app for children to both keep focused and have some fun at the same time. I have two little ones currently learning their letters, and this is a definite hit with them!

Finding the Way Home [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The animation is very well done, and I like how the clouds move over the title on the homepage. When the narrator asks the reader to find a letter, it's nice how the letter is on the bottom of the screen so they can compare it to the floating bubbles. This is true throughout the app, so that young ones can better find words and letters that they are being asked to find.
Improvements It would be nice to have the option of turning the narrator off and reading the book yourself. I did not see a way to do that. There just are not that many options, for example, to skip to where you left off in the story, or to just turn the page ahead of time, etc. It was really frustrating to leave the app for a minute, and come back and it started over even if I was in the middle of it. I noticed two typos: The rabbit says, "the three is very old." instead of tree. Also, when the frog is playing with the tree, he says "I'm geting nervous." Getting is spelled wrong.
General review This app is very well done, and it will help young ones learning to read to find letters and words and get better at reading. The segues to letter and word games are seamless, and little ones will really enjoy the story and games. My only complaint is that I wish there was a way to skip to a certain point in the story instead of having to start all over if you have to leave the app and come back later. Otherwise, great job!

Animal Planet Hide & Seek Pets [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I like how if you stay on the opening screen and watch, little animals come out from behind the logo and make noises. It is a very cute introduction. The narrator's voice is very easy to understand to understand and pleasant to the ears. I like how the text is highlighted as she says it. This is very important for children who are beginning to read.
Improvements The animal planet animated logo at the very beginning is cut off due to screen size. You can hear what they are saying, but you can't see the whole logo. During the beginning activity, when it tells you to touch the hamster to spin the wheel, the whole menu comes down from the top, which I think was to show the user where the menu is, but it's confusing that it does that. It made me think that by touching the hamster, I made the menu come down. Also, the app froze in the middle of tracing the letter "a" in the word cat. I'm not sure what happened.
General review I am very pleased with this app. There are many different activities that your children can do, including memory match, painting, music, tracing letters and numbers, fact-learning, and puzzles, in addition to hide and seek. In fact, I think the title is kind of misleading, since this app offers so many other activities besides hide and seek. This is a great app for young children, and mine had a blast with it!

Wubbzy's Animal Coloring Book [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I like how there are very many different options for what to color with such as brushes and chalk, and not only that, a lot of different, unusual colors for the children to use. We love the cartoons, as usual. My children love the stickers, and being able to personalize their coloring pages and then take pictures of them is a big deal to them.
Improvements The first couple of screens of the app before it welcomes you, it seems like the sound is not working. I think it would be helpful to have a little bit of background music as soon as the app is opened to counteract this. The only other criticism I have is that for children who are not familiar with Wubbzy, there is no explanation of the characters, just pictures of them with no captions or anything. It's not a problem for my children since they are familiar with the show, but just an observation.
General review This is a well done app in the children's art genre. There are multiple ways to personalize the various coloring pages, with many different sticker options that the kids will adore. You can even do spray paint and chalk, and the app helps little kids stay in the lines. There's even a blank page for your budding artist!

The Miracles of Jesus [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I love how each word is highlighted as the narrator says it when the book is being read to you. This is so helpful for beginning readers, of which I have two. I like the sound effects in the background as the story is read and how they are not distracting. The family chat at the end is nice for discussions amongst children and parents about faith and Christianity. It's a nice touch.
Improvements When tracing the letter "h" in the word "faith", the fish froze right before the end. I am not sure what happened there. Also, the narrator's voice when reading the trivia questions in the activities section is quite faint and kind of hard to hear. Other than that, I really do not have anything negative to say about this app. I think it's extraordinarily well done, and I plan on using it regularly with my children.
General review It's so nice to see an app based on Christianity and helping teach children about Jesus. The stories are wonderful, and the sheer amount of activities make this app well worth the purchase price. This will definitely be part of our regular rotation on Sundays when I'm trying to keep the kids quiet during the first little bit of church.

Wubbzy and The Princess [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked All three of my children absolutely adored this app. We played with it for quite a while, even going to bed late because of it. We really like all the animation on all of the pages. It was fun trying to figure out what everything would do when you touched it. The games are wonderful. As a parent, I like knowing that the developers thought about Common Core and how to integrate learning with the new standards. You can tell the app was well thought out.
Improvements My four-year-old daughter didn't understand that when she sees stars on something, it will have an animation when you touch it. I had to point it out to her. She picked it up very quickly from that point on. Just an observation. During the numbers hopping game, I really think that the child should be allowed to make a mistake, such as counting too high or not counting enough. As it stands, if the child doesn't count enough, all the app does is wait until you hop the requisite number of times, and it doesn't let you hop any more than that.
General review I can't say enough good things about this app. My children and I loved it. There are many animations on each page, even with the months on the calendar and hours on the clock. The games after the book are well-thought-out and teach your child things like matching, shapes, and recognizing words. Absolutely recommended.

Money Math: Counting Coins [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This is an excellent app. My six year old really enjoyed learning about the different coins. I like the idea of adding all of the trivia about the coins themselves and all of the states. I did not know a lot of the info myself, and I always like learning things along with my kids in an educational app.
Improvements The coins in the How Much Do I have game were a little bit fickle as far as where they had to be to actually have them go in. My daughter tried inserting the coins and was having a little trouble getting them to go in. Other than that, the games are fun and very well done.
General review Buy this app! You get more than your money's worth with many games, facts and trivia. The developers have really put a lot of thought into making learning about money a fun thing. Your child will not only learn about coins, but all of the fifty states as well. I highly recommend this app.

Calm Down Now [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I thought this app was absolutely amazing for the relaxing sounds to help one get to sleep or calm down from an anxiety attack. I feel like I slept much better and was calmer when I used it to help me sleep. My husband snores pretty loudly, so it is quite the accomplishment to be well rested in the morning! As for the calming techniques and other information, they did help me to relax and I found them interesting. I don't have a lot of experience with meditation, so it is somewhat difficult for me to relax that way, but it's a work in progress!
Improvements I know this is a personal preference, and I mean no offense to the narrator, for me personally, a male voice is more soothing and relaxing when I am trying to calm down or go to sleep. Also, I would love to be able to use the app in landscape mode. An iPad compatible app would be great as well. Other than than that, I think the app is well laid out and relatively easy to navigate.
General review I think this app is amazing for helping you get to sleep! It provides a variety of relaxing sounds, and you can layer different sounds together and customize as needed. I loved that I can exit the app and put my cover on the iPad without the sounds stopping. It makes for great, soothing background noise.

Fraggle Rock Game Day [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This was a cute little app about bragging and ultimately teamwork. I liked how the main character eventually learned that working together and using your talents to help others is what's really important. The kids loved the animations on each page, and we all enjoyed the games together. I like how the Common Core standards are seamlessly integrated here.
Improvements Honestly, I do not really have anything negative to say about this app. Maybe one suggestion would be to have a little less animation on each page to keep the kids not as distracted, but there is a way to turn those off and just have the book, so that's not really a valid criticism! The app is really well done.
General review This is a definite five star app! The story and animations go together well, and the educational games are really fun and made with Common Core standards in mind (which is very helpful). All three of my children (ages range from 3-6) were enthralled from start to finish. I love, love, love the games! We'll be using this app over and over.

Spellyfish - Short A Words (v1.0.0) [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I think this is a great app for helping with letter recognition, lowercase letters and spelling. My older daughter, who is six, always wants to write in capital letters, and this will help her learn the lowercase alphabet, which is very necessary in school. The hints are very helpful, and my daughters really liked how the octopus glowed when they got the word correct.
Improvements Once my six-year-old was in the actual lesson, she did fine. However, adding players and navigating the menu are a little bit too difficult for the children to master. My four-year-old was totally lost in the lessons. She was just randomly tapping buttons. I need to familiarize her with the keyboard, and then I think this app will be very helpful for her. Also, I do wish that the app came with more letters and sounds besides just "a" for the price.
General review Overall, my six-year-old did very well with the lessons, and even commented that they were too easy. She may think that, but I think this app affords her wonderful practice, both with spelling and learning and *knowing* her lowercase letters. The app was beyond the grasp of my almost 5-year-old, but once she learns her letters better and knows their locations on the keyboard, I think this will be a great app for her. Well done!

Tic Toc Time: Break down the day to learn how to tell time [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked What a fantastic app!! I really, really loved how the app went into detail about how humankind saw the sun and the rotation of the earth and used it to tell time. The background was thoroughly extensive and I think it really helps the child understand the concept of time before even getting to the clock.
Improvements I would like to see more variation in rewards between completing games. You could perhaps add stickers, and give the child the opportunity to choose his or her own sticker when he or she completes a game. Also, I get that these are beavers talking, but an "S" sound as a "TH" is kind of confusing for kids on the younger and of the spectrum from 6 to 8, who are still learning their sounds. My six-year-old was perplexed as to why the beaver was saying "thun" instead of "sun".
General review I think this app is wonderful! It is well worth the money. We will be using this again and again. I can really see my children understanding why we tell time the way we do. The background of it is so important, and it is thoroughly covered in this app. My daughter will be telling time in no time at all, pun intended!

Wubbzy's Puzzles [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I like how the Puzzles are easy, medium and large, which fits perfectly with my small, medium and bigger children. :-). I also like how you could see the pictures underneath the puzzle pieces, which helped my children know where they should go. The sound effects are a nice low volume, and not annoying at all, which is very welcome in a children's app! The interactive elements on the scenes after you do the puzzles kept my children busy for quite a while.
Improvements Most importantly, I really dislike it when apps have a pop up immediately that says "[Wubbzy] would like to send you push notifications". Two out of my three children can't read. Therefore, more often than not, they press okay, and then I get notifications when I don't want them. Please take this off in a future version. Also, I realize that you're trying to sell your other apps by having a pop up at the top of the screen after they finished the puzzles, but it's kind of big and in the way.
General review This is a great puzzle app for young children, and there are easy, medium and harder options available, which is nice for a family with multiple children. After the puzzles are done, the scenes kind of come to life, and there are many interactive elements on the page that help keep your child busy having fun. Well done!

Jack and the Beanstalk a Mathematical Adventure - HD V1.1 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The kids and I really enjoyed the games and how they incorporated math into a classic fairytale story. We also like the options of starting from the beginning, continuing a previous session, and going directly to a favorite page. This really makes it possible for a child to practice a specific skill without having to wade through the whole story. We have seen other apps where you have to start completely over if you got out of the app and had to do something else before returning to it.
Improvements As a proofreader, I immediately notice things like missing commas, and there were a lot of commas missing in this app. I really think a proofreader needs to go over all of the text and correct any mistakes. Also, I realized after the first couple of times that when the narrator was pausing before saying a quantifiable number, it was so the app could change every time a child played it by having different equations to solve. There just needs to be less of a noticeable pause; it sounds like there's something wrong with the app instead of what is really happening.
General review In summary, my kids were all interested in the app. They all enjoyed the games, and everyone wanted to participate. The developers just need to go over the text to correct any mistakes. We will be using this app again as my older daughter advances in math. Right now she's only in first grade, so there's not a lot of estimating going on, but that's a useful skill to have, and I appreciate that it is included in this app.

Learn ABC Phonics v1.1 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I loved this app. It's like it took all of the annoying things about other alphabet apps and made sure to eliminate them. Among the things I liked: The plucking of strings as the child "writes", the helpful arrows indicating the correct way to go, the pronunciation of the letters, etc. My favorite thing is how it doesn't penalize the child for being slightly outside of the lines...that's a big pet of peeve of mine for other apps. Great job!
Improvements There is so much that I like about this app that it's hard to criticize anything, but I would say that I do wish the app had a little bit more to it. However, for what it is, an alphabet phonics app, it's wonderful. I would love to see a companion app with small to larger words for children who are learning to read.
General review My three-year-old son had an absolute blast with this app. Every time he finished a letter, he would jump up and down, shouting, "I did it, Mommy!!" This app is wonderful for the little ones who are learning to write their letters. There are helpful arrows to guide them along, and, most importantly (to me, anyway), the child does not get penalized and have to start over if he is slightly outside of the lines. 5 out of 5!

Talking ABC... Version: 1.4 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked My son is still playing the app as I review it! He is three and a half, and this app fully engages him on every level. We love the animations, the sound effects, the funny letter section, etc. The app is very well thought out, and one can tell that a lot of effort was put into the animations, especially.
Improvements Admittedly, I am a big fan of the app, but the sheer size of it is very off-putting. When I am searching for apps, if it's over 150 megabytes, I usually skip downloading it. We have a lot of apps on our devices, and after a little while, we do have to pick and choose which apps to keep. Also, while the animations are good, some of the animals are a little scary for the younger crowd, and I think starting with the alligator might be a mistake. It almost scared off my son! Lastly, I think the puzzles are a bit too difficult for the target age range. There should be an easier option.
General review We love Talking ABC! You can tell that a lot of hours were spent on making this app appealing to little ones, and it definitely succeeds. My three-year-old son has now been playing with it for thirty minutes, which for him is almost unheard of! Some of the animals might seem a little scary at first, but with some supervision and reassurance that "he's a nice [animal]", my son did fine and now loves to play all the games. Well done!

Monsieur Bear's ABC [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked First of all, as a translator, I love the fact that this app is offered in three different languages. It's a great way to expose children to different sounds and words. The animations are wonderful, and my kids really enjoyed all the different choices within each letter. I like how the narrator shows how certain letters can sound differently depending on the word that they are in.
Improvements The start up screen takes a while to load, and it's bright white, which is a little hard to look at. It should have some sort of "Loading" text, so the user is not confused about what's going on. Also, when you click on an animation within the app, sometimes you're clicking right on it, but it doesn't register or start the animation.
General review This app is very well done. My six and a half-year-old complained that it was too baby for her, but I know she had fun with it, too. My five-year-old and three and a half-year-old had a blast with it. All three kids really enjoyed the letter "C", since it has a poop joke. They played it over and over again for me, laughing hysterically every time. I guess the developers know the target audience! :-)

Simplex Spelling Phonics - Rhyming With CVC Words (v 2.0.0) [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I like the different controls at the beginning, and how you can change the display of the letters from ABC's to an actual keyboard. This is great for teaching children the layout of the keyboard, which they obviously will need to know at some point. The emphasis on lowercase or uppercase letters is nice, too. I love how you can look back and see which words have been mastered and which ones need to be worked on still. It's great to check out all the progress that has been made!
Improvements The idea of this app is great, but my five-year-old is not ready for it. I think there should be some kind of error noise when a mistake is made. It doesn't have to be loud or annoying, but if it just turns red, my daughter didn't realize that it was wrong. She continued to make mistake after mistake while spelling gibberish. She does not know how to read yet, so this app is a little advanced for her even just going by the letter sounds. My six and a half-year-old was able to do the app just fine, but she found it boring, probably because of all the repetitive sounds.
General review It seems to me like this app would be great for someone who has just learned to read. Unfortunately, one daughter is just below this, and the other is just above it. I would recommend this for a child in kindergarten. We like the series of Simplex spelling apps, and this one is also well done. We will return to it again when my daughter is able to read...it will be great practice for her!

Princess and Knight [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked We liked the bubbles game, and the links game. The pictures and illustrations are well done, and I liked that they included some words that the kids didn't know, like "banquet", "peasant" and "catapult." The reward system of stickers is nice, and the kids enjoyed seeing the different stickers that they could receive.
Improvements The soundproofing in this app is not good at all. Especially when you get a sticker as a reward...it is painfully obvious that the narration along with that was done in a different room. In the quiz game, we cannot hear every syllable of the word being said. It is often cut off, and at least one syllable is missing, making it very difficult to understand what it is you are to find. Also, the witch's voice is obviously a man trying to do a woman's voice, and it just sounds weird.
General review The premise of this app is cute, but the execution of it leaves something to be desired. I have to be honest, I was kind of disappointed in this. I know the developers are capable of a much better app. My kids enjoyed it well enough, and I think kids in general will enjoy it, but adults will notice the shortcomings in the sound and narration.