Our family loves books. From board books, chapter books, picture books, dog-eared favorites that are practically falling apart, newly released ones with pristine pages, to titles on my iPhone. Unlike Sam I Am, we will read them anywhere! But all those hard copies of our favorites weigh me down so I’m especially thankful for high quality books that I can keep on my iPhone like those from PicPocket Books.
I appreciate PicPocket’s large selection that ranges from classic content from established publishers, simple board books for younger children, concept books, easy readers for those beginning readers, fairy tales, and the fact that there is a culturally diverse selection. Some titles are ones that my children are familiar with in hard copy form having checked them out from the library or from our home collection. I love that my kids can enjoy the same illustrations found in the print versions but that the picture book application allows them to listen to the text as it is read by the narrator, touch the screen to turn the pages, and learn to read by seeing words highlighted as they are read and replaying them with the touch of a finger.
All PicPocket Books feature full color illustrations that stay true to the original print book, high quality audio, text that corresponds with the audio, play-pause to start and stop the story at any time, fast-forward and fast-back to replay images and audio, and the ability to purchase it once to play as many times as you’d like.
Founder Lynette Mattke provided me with codes to download a collection of titles from PicPocket Books and Little Miss Techie and Captain Computer love them! It has become an afternoon ritual for Captain Computer to read a PicPocket title while waiting in the car to pick her up from school. Here’s what we have been reading:
Round Is a Mooncake, A Book Of Shapes by Roseanne Thong and illustrated by Grace Lin ($2.99)
- Summary: A little girl’s urban neighborhood becomes a discovery ground of things round, square and rectangular in this lyrical picture book. Most of the objects are Asian in origin, others universal: round rice bowls and a found pebble, square dim sum and the boxes that the pizza comes in, rectangular Chinese lace, and a very special pencil case. Bright, whimsical art accompanies narrative rhyme and a short glossary adds cultural significance to the objects featured in the book.
- Review: This has been one of Little Miss Techie’s favorites for years. Having checked this book out from the public library for weeks at a time, I can recite it in my sleep but I never tire of reading it or seeing the beautiful illustrations that remind us of our Chinese heritage. I surprised Little Miss Techie by handing her my iPhone with Round is a Mooncake on it one morning and she lit up like she does on Christmas morning. She and her brother sat mesmerized listening to the text while admiring the clear, crisp illustrations that still contained all the detail found in the hard copy of the book. While they were quite pleased to find the hot spots on the pages that make cats meow, dogs bark, and the mouse squeak, the hot spots did not detract from their interest in the text. They also liked the ability to pause the story when it was time for breakfast! This book is perfect for ages 4-8.
Big Stuff: Monster Trucks by Robert Gould ($0.99)
- Summary: Photo based illustrations of a variety of real trucks are accompanied by a sentence or two of text on each page for younger readers who will enjoy learning that monster trucks feature big motors, large wheels, huge shocks, and safety features for rough play. Kids will also learn that that any truck body can fit on a monster truck base.
- Review: Originally a board book, this book is fun to read as a mobile application. Younger children will enjoy the large pictures of all kinds of monster trucks while learning important features of text like words are read from left to right. One to one correspondence is reinforced as children see one word being highlighted as it is being read. Captain Computer reports that his favorite part of the book is that the trucks are rough and he likes the pictures of the big tires. Another PicPocket favorite by the same author is Giant Earthmovers. Best for ages 2-6.
My Friend Isabelle by Eliza Woloson and illustrated by Bryan Gough ($1.99)
- Summary: My Friend Isabelle is a story about two friends of the same age, Charlie and Isabelle. They share a love of drawing, dancing, playing at the park and snacks but like most friends, they are also different. This book offers an opportunity for a discussion about tolerance, acceptance and friendship by showing that “differences are what makes the world so great.” At the end of the story, a brief narrative tells the reader that Isabelle is a child with Down’s Syndrome.
- Review: One of PicPocket Book’s earliest titles, this book is a charming story about two young friends and is told with simplicity and grace. It describes the differences between Charlie and Isabelle in a way that is easily understood and promotes acceptance and tolerance of others even by the youngest ages. It serves as the perfect reminder that while everyone is different, there are fundamental similarities between all of us. I love PicPocket Books gives a portion of all proceeds from this book to support the Global Education Fund. A wonderful and positive story appropriate for ages 2-8
A, My Name is Andrew by Mary McManus Burke with illustrations by Donna Ingemanson ($0.99).
- Summary: A, My Name is Andrew is a whimsical, tongue-twisting journey through the alphabet and across the country that features artistic illustrations and alliterative verse in this original and refreshingly multi-cultural alphabet picture book.
- Review: I purchased this PicPocket title to our app library after reading The Mom Beat who wrote that it was loved by her 3 girls for the “author’s choice of words, which were descriptive, funny and perfectly matched with the whimsical illustrations.” We love the imaginative illustrations and fun text that always starts with a sentence that matches a name to a letter of the alphabet. The stories for each letter will capture the attention of all children while teaching the alphabet, alliteration through the word choice, and helps foster an interest in geography through the use of cities that match the letter of the alphabet- Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlottesville, Detroit, El Paso, Fresno, etc. This PicPocket title underlines words in red as they are being read aloud. Perfect for ages 4-8.
Sleeping Beauty by Martina Miller ($1.99)
- Summary: The beautiful watercolor illustrations in this rendition of Sleeping Beauty relate the timeless story of the princess who sleeps for one hundred years. From an emerald frog to the cascades of roses that twine their way through the story, the rich colors of these painted pages bring new details and style to this favorite fairy tale.
- Review: Lovers of fairy tales, princesses, and chapter books will enjoy Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty features longer text passages that fill the iPhone screen. The easy-to-read font allows beginning readers to follow along as words are highlighted as they are read and gives older readers a chance to practice reading independently when the sound is turned off. I like that the text is alternated with incredibly vibrant watercolor illustrations that appear at the end of each page of text to break up the story and hold a child’s interest. If fluent readers prefer to read independently, the book allows them to tap on the screen to pause and page through it at their own pace using the forward and back arrows to navigate through the story. A great title for ages 5-12.
Giveaway! PicPocket Books is offering one reader their choice of 3 different PicPocket titles to put on their iPhone or iPod. To enter, browse the PicPocket site or their iTunes page. Then leave a comment containing the names of 3 titles you would most want for your device with your e-mail address.
For extra entries:
- Follow PicPocket Books on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you have done so.
- Become a fan of PicPocket Books on Facebook and leave a comment telling me you have done so.
- Tweet this and leave a link in your comment: @TechSavvyMama reviewed @PicPocketBooks & is giving a reader choice of 3 titles for their iPhone/iPod. Enter here 2 win: http://tr.im/LslM
- Add the Tech Savvy Mama button to your blog using the HTML found in the right column of your blog and leave a comment telling me you have done so.
Fine print: Winner will be randomly chosen from all entries using Random.org in one week and will be sent download codes to be used in the iTunes store.
PicPocket Books provided me with download codes for all titles reviewed with the exception of A, My Name is Andrew which I personally purchased. Images are courtesy of PicPocket Books. All opinions are my own and no compensation was received for this review.
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Original post by Tech Savvy Mama