Website of the Month
App/Website of the Month
Each month we’ll spotlight a fun app or website. For January we have a treat: the TOP TEN APPS OF 2017 from School Library Journal!
1. Fans of Nosy Crow can now create stories featuring the developer’s characters with The Complete Fairytale Play Theater (iOS, $4.99)
Free PreS-Gr 4). After selecting one of the six stories from the list of tales the company has produced (Goldilocks and Little Bear, Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, or The Three Little Pigs), children choose a setting from a menu bar.
2. If a 400-year-old mystery involving one of the greatest artists of all time piques your curiosity, then Buried Alive: The Secret Michelangelo Took to His Grave (Time Traveler Tours with Mary Hoffman. iOS
Android Free. Gr 6 Up), is an app for you.
3. Fiete Cars (Ahoiii Entertainment, iOS, $.99, Free, IAP $.99
Android, Free, IAP $.99
PreK-Gr 2) is a challenging game that offers children the opportunity to build roads and set the course for the driver of a vehicle, and, possibly, create a story while they do so. A limited number of courses and challenges are provided with the free download, but more can be added as an in-app purchase.
4. Part noir spy caper, part puzzle game, part animated graphic novel (where viewers get to control the narrative), Loveshack’s prequel,
Framed 2 (iOS, $4.99 Android, $4.99 Gr 8 Up), like its predecessor, Framed (iOS, $3.99 Android, $2.99 Gr 8 Up) defies easy categorization.
5. Some apps delight users from the moment they begin—through to the very last click. Listen Up! / Con Le Orecchie Di Lupo (SmallBytes Digital, iOS, $1.99 PreS), written and illustrated by Eva Rasano, is one of those productions. Meet Lupo, an unassuming, suave black wolf (think: dog) who walks around on his hind legs exploring new sounds.
(Lucas Zanotto, iOS, $1.99 PreS-Gr 1) combines technology and good old-fashioned illustration fun by inviting users to set the iPad on a piece of paper and draw a specific shape next to the device. Together with the image on the screen, their drawing forms an animal—one for each letter of the alphabet. This app provides an opportunity for young children to practice their fine motor skills, and for parents to engage in conversations with their children as they guess what animal they’re going to create. Miximal (Lucas Zanotto, (iOS, $1.99 PreS-Gr 1) encourages users to play with phonics and expand their imaginations by providing pictures of animals (divided into three sections) to recombine to create an unending gallery of mixed-up critters; for example, kids can combine a koala’s head with a flamingo body and penguin feet.
Loopimal (Lucas Zanotto, iOS, $3.99 PreS-Gr 3) is the most robust app of the three—the standout that will engage children and parents equally. Music lovers and kinesthetic learners won’t be able to resist. It incorporates concepts of rhythm and sequencing as users choreographs dance routines for bears, hippos, and sloths by sliding different colored blocks into place.
7. Monument Valley ll (ustwo Games LTD, iOS $4.99 Gr 3 Up) takes advantage of every ounce of the audio and visual range available on the iPad and iPhone. The music manages to be evocative and restrained at the same time, and sound effects—doors closing, the grating of stone, and an occasional animal—are crisp and elegant. Precise color gradients, while extremely beautiful, also offer subtle clues, as pathways emerge or disappear at a touch.
8. Radio Jones and His Robot Dad (Nexus Productions, Free Gr 1–5) by Chris O’Reilly, Alan Smith, and Adam Foulke is a cross between a wordless picture book and an animated film. It’s a sweet and sad but ultimately uplifting story about a boy who misses his father’s company so much that he builds a robot dad to take the man’s place. Robot dad spends the entire day with the boy, and their adventures, which start off fun, soon get out of hand.
9. Thinkrolls: Kings and Queens (AVOKIDDO, iOS, $3.99 Android, $3.99 K- Gr 6) is stimulating, but not impossible, moves quickly and builds on itself, and, best of all, is populated by little round characters who emit a wide range of nonverbal squeaks, giggles, coos, and chirps. The app has a brief learning ramp-up and, like the World of Goo (another puzzler), demonstrates basic concepts of physics. Simple machines, force, and reflection are all used to clear a path as viewers roll and drop characters along paths and across bridges through a series of castles. Sequence is especially important in order to solve these puzzles.
A free app that gives kids the tools to try their hands at directing. Toontastic 3D allows children to create their own animated movies.
Past featured apps and websites.