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  Lvl 5 - Mogul

Andrew M.

Status: Beta reviewer - Video Reviewer

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

iDevices she/he owns: - iPad2- iPhone4S

Description: Father of three young girls; middle school principal; chair of daycare board of directors; "connected educator"; former Language Arts teacher; avid reader; passionate about equipping colleagues with powerful tech tools

Profile categories: Can test apps with kids ages 0-2 - Can test apps with kids ages 3-5 - Can test apps with kids ages over 10 - Teaching kids ages over 10

Date when her/his profile was validated: 2012-10-01

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

Total review Karma: + 13     ?

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

Find them all: looking for animals [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The app is designed very intuitively; I especially liked the feature that makes the animal's sound louder the "closer" you got to the animal you are searching for. The language "wheel" was a great feature to draw children into exploring other languages. I have seen features in other apps that switches the language back and forth, being able to access all available languages for the animal on screen promotes connected learning better in my opinion. I also liked the photo album and "cards" to keep track of all the animals found.
Improvements The camera function was not enabled in the version I downloaded (full version). I searched carefully for a way to turn on this function without making an in-app purchase but could not find one. If this could either be included for free or clearer directions for how to purchase the camera were available, that would be helpful.
General review Great app for introducing children to animals, animal words in different languages, and quest-based learning. Great feature: animal sounds get louder as you get closer to them. A "card" is earned for every animal discovered with a prize for discovering all animals in each globe. I couldn't find the camera function on the full version app. Is this an in-app purchase? Would be great if this feature were free ... at least on the first level.

The sweet song of the world [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This is beautifully illustrated and animated book. In this regard, the book will be appealing to young readers. The narration is very well done and would be an another excellent feature for emerging readers. All functions are very intuitive and user-friendly. No glitches or functionality issues. As I do not speak French I can not speak to the French narration or content, although I did explore that portion of the app.
Improvements The fact that the narration defaults off is a positive feature, but having to turn narration on on each page becomes tiresome once the user makes the decision to use this feature. A universal "narration on/off" would be better. While the text itself is beautiful, it may be difficult for young readers; proficient readers and adults will have no problems. It appears that the book was written in French and translated into English. While this does not create any problems at all, some usages (such as preposition placement) may seem unusual to readers - particularly from an American perspective.
General review A beautifully illustrated and animated book that will be appealing to young readers. Excellent narration will also engage emerging readers. All functions are very intuitive and user-friendly. No glitches or functionality issues. Frustrating thst the narration defaults to off and must be toggled on again on each page. Thematically the text is itself a "poem that wriggle[s] about and can't wait to disobey". Delightful in it's own way.

Treasure Kai and the Seven Cities of Gold [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Pencilicious v.1.2 [text] [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Each feature is easy to use and works intuitively. Import/imbed features work well as do internal fuctions. I especially like the ability to modify not only the color but the transparency of the ink. The export function worked well when I tried emailing a notebook I created. Overall a fun app to use to take notes or draw.
Improvements Almost all the features work very well. I had to nitpick to find suggestions. Having said that, here they are: I do not have a stylus and found that writing lengthy notes on a single page was a bit difficult - possibly because of the size of my fingers? Perhaps this issue would be addressed/solved if the toolbar(s) could be made to disappear while you are writing by double tapping or something like that. Also, when I was using the app, the "fill" option did not work well if the text of the word was too tranparent.
General review This fun app is a good option for enhanced note taking and drawing. Importing, exporting and sharing options work well. All internal features work easily and intuitively and include size, color and transparency selection. Closed figures can also be "filled" with any color at any transparency level. Overall a fun app to use to take notes or draw.
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Math Summoner [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked AMAZING app that builds foundational math skills - addition, subtraction, multiplication, division - and other math concepts like negative numbers, x/y axis, etc. The app keeps track of progress (correct answers, % correct, % increase) for multiple users. Very engaging - I let an eighth grade student who struggles with math play with it this week. He liked it so much that I had to write him a pass to his next pass! I plan to encourage the math teachers in my school to purchase this app for their students who need additional support!
Improvements I haven't played through the entire game yet (good to know that there is a rich bank of questions that do not recycle quickly), but I have still not figured out what the dinosaur in the bottom left corner is or does. It's not distracting, but it also doesn't appear to have a specific function. Also, on the first level, when one of my birds was injured by the aliens, I thought that the game had a bug for a while because of how it just kept hovering in one spot. One the second level, the fact that the pterodactyl changed color helped make it obvious that it was out of commission.
General review AMAZING app that builds foundational math skills - addition, subtraction, multiplication, division - and other math concepts like negative numbers, x/y axis, etc. The app keeps track of progress (correct answers, % correct, % increase) for multiple users. Very engaging and well-designed app that I plan to use at my school!

SirMania - Play & Learn v1.1 [text] [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Very entertaining app for young children. My five year old LOVES it. This is one of the apps that she plays over and over - and she has lots of apps to chose from. I especially like the fact that the app "sneaks in" learning skills - counting while matching shapes for example. This is a great example of how to help children learn without their knowing it!
Improvements It would be nice to see a a function that allows the user to exit to a menu more easily. I discovered the menu on the "front page" and love the extra information there - especially o
The link to Facebook for parents, but I could not figure out a way to move forward in the game without playing the game on the screen or backward without exiting and starting again. I may have just missed it, but I looked!
General review Outstanding app that young children will LOVE. High level of interactivity on every screen - even wrong or irrelevant taps result in an entertaining response. I really like how basic skills are worked into each game and often "layered" - such as passive counting (for reinforcement) when matching shapes. Graphics and sound effects are perfect for young users. Definitely worth the price as an app for young children!
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Wubbzy's Train Adventure [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked OUTSTANDING app for young children. My five-year-old loves this app. I am especially impressed with how much of each page of the book is interactive. I also very much like the fact that its is possible to chose any combination of animation and narration (or lack of either). The games are fun for the age range and the included videos are great. The help menu is very informative and lays everything out well for parents (although in intentionally did not look at it until I had thoroughly explored the app on my own. Fantastic app overall.
Improvements While I am impressed overall, I do think a few more very simple games like the ones included could be added. One feature that would be cool is to add games and or videos that are revealed or unlocked after the user completes the book or clicks on a hidden key. Other than that, I don't have anything to criticise about the app.
General review A very well done app for children in this age range. My five year old LOVES it! There are tons of interactive features on every page. I also like the fact that users can chose to have any combination of narration and animation (or neither). The included videos and games are icing on the cake!

The Whole Truth about Santa Claus [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I like the story concept very much. It is a great app for teaching children about the true spirit of Christmas. The graphics are very well done and fit the story well. There is enough animation to make sense for a book app without being distracting as a book like this does not need lots of interactive features (in my opinion).
Improvements I think it may be important for parents who are thinking of buying the app to know that this is a book that plainly contradicts the traditional story - particularly if they have young children. While this is a GREAT tool to teach your children that Santa is not literally real, parents should not buy the app for their child to use and "accidentally" discover the truth. All existing aspects of the app are excellent, in my opinion.
General review This is another great book app by the folks who brought us The Sweet Song of the World. For parents who want to teach their children about the spirit of Christmas (and that Santa is not literally real), this is an excellent app. Graphics, animation, narration and navigation are all very well done.

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

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Frankly, I didn't like the app much at all. The best thing I could say is that the functions do seem to work the way they are designed and the app is not too expensive. If I was looking for a study app and bought this one, however, I would be VERY disappointed.
Improvements 1. Streamline the directions. The currently format of a long "how-to" menu is very off-putting. A tutorial that walks users through the process would be better. This menu could be kept as an EXTRA resource.
2. Fix bug (?) that prevents video/pictures from showing up in the tutorial. Perhaps this was my main problem. I can see boxes where these are supposed to be, but nothing shows up. My opinion might be completely different if these worked.
3. A comparatively minor issue is some typos, grammar, and usage choices which appear in the FAQ (particularly from American English perspective).
General review Directions for use seem cumbersome, possibly due to bug that keeps images/videos from appearing in the FAQ section. Premise for the app might work well with improvements to these bugs. Actual functionality of recording and quizzing features seemed to work as designed. However, I have used many other quizzing apps that are so much more user-friendly as to make the glitches with this app not worth the trouble.

"Mulberry FingerPlays" v1.7 [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Math Summoner [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This is a very good app for children who are learning or need help reviewing basic math functions. The game-play is very well done and (now) moves along at a good pace. The graphics are very good as is the selection and progression of questions and the graphing of progress. The added ability both to pause the game and to exit the game directly are very helpful improvements.
Improvements I think there is still too much game play per answer attempted/completed. On levels where several shapes are made (such as the dinosaur level), it is still possible to sit and watch the pterodactyls collect for a while. I think it would be better if the player were forced to continue answering questions. I can think of two ways that this can easily be accomplished: 1. Increase the alien attacks. 2. Reduce the amount of "pollen" produced by each flower - in other words, limit the number of times the bird characters can visit each clump of flowers thereby making it necessary to "make" more.
General review This is a very good app for children who are learning or reviewing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Additional game play gives it the feel of a quest or adventure. Stats and progress is tracked within in app. Improved tutorial features, pausing, and better pacing all included in this update. These upgrades make this a very useful app to have!

Baby Learns Simple Objects 1.1 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Amazing app. This is a great way for young children to learn the names of lots of objects. I also like the way that the items on all the pages are very interactive/manipulative. There is an excellent answer to reward ratio in the quizzing section. Perhaps the best part is the option to change avatars, languages and record words.
Improvements Honestly, any suggestion would be almost greedy - this is a wonderful app, definitely worth the cost. Small suggestions: tighten the program to cycle through the items in the picture. I noticed several times that the a word/object would repeat in the same 5-item cycle. It would be great if additional pages of objects could be developed. If they are made at this level I would think they would be worth paying an in-app upgrade.
General review This is a fantastic app for teaching young children the names of objects in familiar settings such as the kitchen and the park. The items on each page are fully interactive. When combined with a reward play world, the option to select different avatars, record instructions in your own voice and share your settings, these features make this app a great bargain!

The Friendly Ogre [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Another wonderfully different book from lasouisquiranconte. The theme of judging others by their actions instead of by stereotypes is nestled in this story of a little girl and the ogre she meets in the library. The animation and narration are excellent. The menu options work well and make this app even more user-friendly.
Improvements There are a couple of minor errors: a misplaced comma and a transcription error. In the scene where the girl meets the orge, the narration says "... his whole life in them ..." but the text says "his all life ..." Also, while this would certainly not be inappropriate for young children, I'm not sure the age range should be as low as 7. Commentary more than anything:, I listened to the French narration of the book as well: I wonder if the differences in style between the two narrations would yield a generally different experience/impression. Note - I don't speak French.
General review This interesting story of a little girl who meets an book-loving ogre in the library explores the theme of tolerance and acceptance of strangers. Children and adults will find thIs story unlike most other children's books. Parents can easily use the book as much more than just a story.

Tomo Garage 1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This app is GREAT for teaching children spelling words. My five year old played through the entire game the first day I downloaded it. She also likes trying to get three trophies for all the words. The scrolling menu helps keep track of the words done, how quickly each word was spelled, and helps get back to words that might need a do-over.
Improvements There are two parts of the app we haven't figured out. First is the points awarded for each word spelled. There doesn't seem to be any significance to the points - they are based on the speed completed, but the actual numbers don't seem to mean anything - there is no "record board" (that we can find) nor any acculturation of points scored. The other thing that baffles us is the garage itself. We figured out that cars drive/race through and words spelled can be called up/displayed, but the does not seem to be any other function/interactivity. Did we miss something?
General review Very fun app for this age range. My five year old loves it! In-app play encourages accurate and swift spelling of common words. Points and trophies are awarded for each correctly spelled word. Wrong letters result in a time penalty. Scrolling menu helps children/parents see words that have already been completed.

Hamster Chase [text] [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked My five year old is addicted to this game. She asks me almost every day to play Hamster Chase. On Thursday of this week, I popped into the lunchroom while she was there with her classmates (I work in the adjoining middle school) she conned me into playing the game a couple of minutes for her friends! I like how the game combines motor-control and problem solving skills. The menu is also great for keeping track of progress.
Improvements It might be helpful to have an option to have auditory commands/instructions for young users. In several cases, my daughter was frustrated with a level not because see found it too difficult but because she did not understand the object of the level. I would also like to see the "sharing" options made a bit smaller. It is too easy for a child to accidentally share their latest score on her daddy's work Twitter feed :0). Perhaps an action to even lock the sharing feature in menu settings?
General review A wonderful app that combines hand-eye coordination, fine-motor and problem-solving skills. My five year old loves this app and begs to play it every day - in fact she is pestering me to give her my iPad right now. We have not discovered any bugs or problems of any kind with the app. Impressive that this app is able to be challenging enough not to be boring without being so difficult as to be frustrating ... for a five year old.
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

AdjustGrid / version1.0 [text] [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The app is as advertised: a great overlay to assist in composing pictures. A wide selection of templates are very helpful to amateur photographers in taking pictures that have more than Baby's cute face to commend them. The "about" menu is especially helpful in understanding how to use the various features.
Improvements As I demonstrated in my first video review, the app crashed every time I attempted to take a picture. I was not able to take a single picture using the app. The app loaded, perspective lines and all other features displayed just fine, but I was unable to take any pictures. When I closed the app, my camera worked fine, so I don't think it was a problem with the phone. I WAS able to use the app eventually and have not had this problem again. I remain concerned that there might be a bug that causes this problem and wonder if I can rely on the app to work from now on.
General review The app is a very good tool for an amateur photographer. It certainly does a good job of aligning shots well. I do wonder if most folks will be patient enough to use it. The functionality of the app is almost perfectly balanced (for me) with my concerns that the problems I had with the app will occur again.
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Baby Phone [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked To be honest, it is very hard to find much to like about this app. Let me try my best: the songs that are included are in fact songs that young children will probably like and be familiar with, the buttons are colorful, the sound quality is acceptable.
Improvements Frankly, this app is so bad that the developers need to start over. Here are my suggestions;
1. I don't object to in-app ads per se, but the banners are placed in such a way as to obscure the number display. Also, I don't like such prominent ads in an app for very young children.
2. There is no connection between the pictures and the sounds during a call. Why would touching a picture of fruit produce an animal sound?
3. There are no discernible patterns - specific buttons or sequences of buttons do not result in specific outcomes - is the assumption that babies will just bang on the screen?
General review This app requires a major overhaul before it is valuable at all. The way it is now, I intend to remove it from my iPad: I think it will teach my baby bad habits (NOT to anticipate patterns) and she will almost certainly continuously tap on the banner ads (either on purpose or intentionally). This will both frustrate her and expose her to apps that are not age-appropriate (Big Fish Casino!?!)

Jungle Picnic 10.2. [text] [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked I liked pretty much everything. The story is simple but entertaining for children. The games embedded in the game are fun to play but (more importantly) develop a number of skills - hand-eye coordination, problem-solving, critical thinking, etc. My children LOVE this app.
Improvements I honestly can't think of anything to recommend. All features work well, the animation and narration are excellent, and the games are both fun and developmentally valuable. There are features I have seen in other games that this one lacks (like a menu button) but I don't think anything like that would significantly improve this app - it's great!
General review This fun app takes children into a story where plans for a jungle picnic are jeopardized by monkey's antics. Food must be identified, sorted and stored in a series of interactive games. One of the best features of the app is that the words on each page are repeated when you tap them. This feature makes sight word practice easy and fun! A great app overall.
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

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

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Incredibly detailed app. The text and pictures on each insect are very well done as in the menu system throughout the app. The quiz is well done and great for helping children test their learning. I especially like the field journal. The rich video and picture galaries are great for children who can not observe these insects in the wild. Well done!
Improvements It is hard to criticise anything about this app as it is very well done and much more detailed and better designed than many similar apps. I am willing to suggest that children would love to see content on even more insects. If this could be provided through updates or even in-app purchases, that would be wonderful!
General review This is an incredibly detailed app. Pictures, text, and video guide users through an encyclopedia of insects. There is an interactive quiz to test learning and rich picture and video galleries (presented as "bug stories"). The feature that puts this app over the top, though is the fully functional field journal that allows young scientists to take pictures and notes about the insects they observe!

5 Dice: Order of Operations Game v1 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This is a fantastic app. The basic idea of honing math skills through interactive competition shows a clear unserstanding of the target age group. It seems to me that this approach (building formulas one digit at a time) requires complex thinking and will build skills beyond the computation level. I have shared the app with math teachers and students already.
Improvements I have played a handful of games via Bluetooth (many more single-player) so I am not certain this is what was actually happening, but it seemed like if one player entered the wrong solution, the other was declared the winner. If that is the case, I think play should continue until one player gets the formula right!
General review Five Dice is not your father's math review activity. By approaching the entire exercise from a new perspective (building a formula to match a given solution) and by incorporating students' love of competition and interactive gaming, this app helps students learn higher-order thinking without seeming to do so. Genius and sure to be effective.

Claustrophobic, v1.1 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked It's addictive. I set the third highest score ...while being distracted by a two year old. I have absolutely no problem with the IAPs as they are not necessary. In my observation, the game is very well designed. Not overly complex, but lots of fun!
Improvements Since I absolutely must put something down, I'll comment on the fact that there is not a great deal of variety in the game. Once you get about five minutes into the game, you start to race through the levels. I would like to see more variables introduced - more (and possibly different) balls in the higher levels.
General review Highly addictive game. Definitely worth the cost. Don't hate on the in app purchases; if you are good enough you won't need them. App plays very well on the iPad with no bugs encountered. Once you get the hang of the motion, chasing tokens and avoiding walls will be your new obsession!

The Lonely Beast ABC [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked A delightful app that features the Beast in one "scene" for each letter of the alphabet. While I have not read the original book, if it is anything like this app, it is one my children and I would love to read! I thought each page had a great level of interactivity: cute actions with just enough variety to be fun without being too much.
Improvements For the features include in this app, the price is definitely too high. My wish/suggestion is to reduce the price. If the app is meant to teach children the alphabet, a quizzing/review feature would be great - perhaps a matching feature where children tap the correct letter to match the word that was called, or vice versa.
General review A delightful app featuring the Beast in interactive scenes for each letter of the alphabet. My favorite feature is the level of interactivity - enough to be entertaining but not so much as to be distracting. Although a bit overpriced, it is a fun app.

flippi memo v1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The cards are colorful and well drawn. No glitches encountered. The ability to drag the cards around the playing surface is novel and fun: my five-year-old loves that. The music is nice if not particularly spectacular. Overall a good app as my daughter keeps playing it.
Improvements One cardinal rule of memory card games is broken in this app - you MUST turn the cards back over when you fail to make a match. Because the app does not do this automatically, the temptation is to just keep turning cards over until the match is found - and that fundamentally changes the nature of the game. If that is fixed, this would be a great game.
General review flippi memo sets out to put a twist on traditional card memory games but goes one turn too far. The ability to freely move cards around the playing surface is great. However, it's a big draw-back that cards stay face-up even when a match is not made. If this issue is changed in an update, this would be a great app. To be fair though, my little girl likes likes this game the way it is.

He is Risen, An Easter Story [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Incredible amount of content for the price. I like the fact that the book can be read by a narrator or by the user. Great attention was paid to the continuity of the app - for example, the text in the story is highlighted as the narrator reads - the impressivepart is that the highlighting matches the narrator's (natural and varied) reading speed perfectly. There are lots of extra features and all are designed well and function well.
Improvements Honestly, as a book app, this functions perfectly well. I had to wrack my brain to think of any suggestions for changes, and none were to the book/reading part of the app. Some of the games could be modified - for example, the word search game could give clues if the user takes too long. The mazes could include "fail" sounds and force the character back to the beginning if the wrong path is chosen. The coloring activity could provide smaller fields so that the picture could be colored in more detail. Where it counts, thought, this app is great.
General review A very well designed and beautifully executed app. The app provides the choice of full narration, narration on demand, and no narration. Many games/activities are included; all work well and add tremendously to the value of the app. The attention to detail and the functionality are impressive. Well done.

4 Dice: Fraction Games v1 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This app presents a very engaging way to learn math. The app is very well designed and functioned correctly at all times. The Bluetooth feature made it easy to play against another human without having to pass the same device back and forth (as in other games).
Improvements I wonder what kind of success students will have transferring what they learn here to the classroom. This is a great app and helps learners approach learning from a fresh angle - I hope they will not be turned off by the fact that it is SO different. I would like to see dynamic problem selection - problems that get easier when you miss one and harder when you get one right. Feedback would be good too - reinforcing the logic or process the student used...or correcting/pointing out the flaws when it is wrong. I would like a discounted price for teachers/schools to buy multiple copies of the app.
General review A very good app to help learners practice the four basic functions with fractions. In this unique approach, players use numbers rolled on dice to build an equation to match a provided solution. The Bluetooth feature allows multi-player games on two devices. This amplifies the competition hook that appeals to young students. Based on a great concept, this app promises to solidify learners' grasp of the math concepts they practice.

Word Crush Mania v1.1 [text] [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked A word building game that is sure to be highly addictive. The objective is to build words from letters revealed one at a time. There is a time limit and a (death) penalty for adding too many letters without creating a word. There are bonuses for long words and creating more than one word at the same time. Lots of bonus factor letter tiles make the game even more intriguing as do special missions. Great idea, great game.
Improvements Two major beefs with this game: first, every time I have played the game so far, it accepts letter combinations that are not English words. I'm not sure what they are - abbreviations? slang? It's great when it happens, but it is also distracting. Second, the game has suddenly started popping up adds every few turns - when it didn't do that at all the first couple of days. Not terrible, but annoying. Might be the price to pay for a free game, but still ...
General review A fun word game that combines several elements from other games: word spelling, sequential revealing of letter tiles, time limits, limit on plays without spelling a word, power-ups, spins for bonuses, etc, etc. If you can tolerate the pop-up ads, this game will do its best to make an addict of you.
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Shiny Party 1.0 [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Wubbzy's Animal Coloring Book [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Great coloring app for young children. Really, one very impressive thing south the app is the fact that it packs a much wider selection of coloring tools and features into a $2 app than many that run for much more. From a wide color palette to the ability to multiple painting tools to the ability to choose the size, this app has it working. I especially like the feature that keeps the paint inside the line being painted at the time.
Improvements Based on my 2 year old's struggles, I think it is too easy to pop up extra features that stop play - for example every option on the "more" menu stops the gain by requiring a confirmation of some kind. It's good that these features are protected, but I would like to see the link to this menu be smaller or on a second screen. Having said that, I realize the developers probably do not consider children that young their target audience.
General review Excellent coloring app with a ton of features. Sixteen different coloring pages come with the app as do all these features: stickers, paint, crayons, spray paint, and chalk. Each option includes. Wide color palette and custom widths. All three of my little girls love this app. It is well made and has shown no bugs or problems in two weeks. Well done!

The Miracles of Jesus [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Excellent app. All parts of the app are very well designed and work smoothly. I especially like the three reading options to support children who are learning to read. I also like the fact that the coloring activity actually allows you to color the picture - instead of just auto-filling the section. Impressive amount of extra activities.
Improvements This is the second app I have reviewed from this developer and I am frankly impressed at the number of improvements. However, if I MUST ask for more, I would say that each activity could have more permutations. For example in the (delightful) tracing activity, would it be that much more difficult to have ten or fifteen words to trace, instead of two? Also, a pause button in the "read to me" version would be nice.
General review The app is very well designed. Functionality, narration, and in-app activities all work exceptionally well. Unlike other children's book apps, this includes a wealth of activities - all of which are equally well designed. Of special note are the three reading options sure to support the process of learning to read for young users. At $2.99, this app should be expected to engage your child for hours ... it will.

Phonics Fun Readers (version 1.2) [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The animation was appropriate for the intended age range. The voice overs were done well. All the functions of the app seemed to work properly in all situations. I like the fact that there are games that go directly with the story (beyond being simply theatrically tied to the narrative).
Improvements The one free book I could find is NOT worth $.99! I don't object to in-app purchases, but another course would be better: provide more free material or provide very low prices to bundle all available in-app purchases. I read Ant, Bug, and Cat. If I were judging the entire app by this one book, I would not spend ANY additional money for upgrades. There were small problems like typos - for example, on one page the text says "Bugs has ..." but the voiceover says "BUG has ...". There was also a verb tense shift - the present tense (has) was used until the last page when it shifts to past (had).
General review Disappointing. The free book offers limited animation, includes typos and verb tense shifts that could confuse youngsters learning to read. The menu works well but is unlikely to be used much by folks who decline to make any of the (relatively expensive) in-app purchases if they are unimpressed with the "hook" that the app offers. My suggestion: regroup and try again. Good animation, good narration, good functionality. Bad editing and economics.

CBC Radio [text] [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Very rich content. It appears obvious that this is the app to have for everyone interested in CBCRadio. The service is amazing. I used this app during a long-distance drive (in the US) the week after I downloaded it. The feed never faded out in spite of the fact that we were in rural and mountainous areas. The content is also very well organized to the benefit of the new/casual user.
Improvements Honestly, I don't know what there is to complain about with this app. Perhaps a search feature would be nice, but the app is laid out in so logical and useful way that this would be a matter of convenience more than anything. Future version: this developer should make an app for NPR!
General review Well designed, logical, simple. This app places CBC broadcasting at the iOs user's fingertips without the need for a radio. The ability to share, "bookmark", and chose between archived and live shows results in a product so fantastic as to make me wonder why anyone would ever own a radio again.
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Live Puzzle! Forest Animals [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Very entertaining and well made app. All three of my daughters (aged 2-6) LOVE it and either fight over the iPad or help each other. I think the concept of having moving pictures in the puzzle pieces is brilliant. Using the same pictures for the different difficulty levels helps the children figure out the harder levels.
Improvements It appears that new levels are unlocked as each puzzle is solved. However, either I have missed something or the levels on the two most difficult sections don't seem to be saying unlocked. It would be nice if this process were clearer/more consistent.
General review A very fun game, puzzle pieces combine to form a moving picture - a whole new twist on puzzle solving! The fact that puzzles range from four to twenty pieces expands the age-range to which this app appeals considerably. The promise of additional puzzles under development is welcome news. I'm sure my children will do their best to talk me into an upgrade if that's what it takes. Well done!

The Amazing Digestive Journey [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked The app is a clever and inventive way to teach children about the major organs in the human body. I especially liked the fact the the learning process was "gamified" so that players learn about how the body works without really feeling like they are having a "lesson".
Improvements The game was a bit tricky to get the hang of. Perhaps the target audience (children) will have had enough experience problem-solving and self-orienting in games like this, but for me (and my young children) it was difficult to get started without more instructions or clues.
General review Detailed app uses gaming and problem-solving approach to teach the major organs of the human body and how digestion works - a great idea for teaching these facts to children! Once you figure out how the app works, the clue/item collecting is fun and learning happens without being laborious.