Monday, June 13, 2011

Two More SkyReader iTunes Storybooks - A Review and Giveaway (ends 6/26)

If you liked the storybook apps from SkyReader that  I wrote about last week, you might be interested in reading about two more that I recently reviewed.

SkyReader (a division of Skywriter Media) is a company that publishes mobile apps for Apple iPad.  The apps can be used with pre-readers and independent readers alike, because of the customizable features included.

There are three reading modes.  Auto, which will read the book and turn the pages, requiring no input.  Read to Me will read the story as speech bubbles appear on the screen allowing for word recognition.  The reader will need to turn the pages by sliding their finger across the page.  Read Myself is what you’d expect.  The words will appear on the screen and need to be read by the user.  the stories are written and presented in graphic novel style, and the professional narration will include some familiar voices, too.

In all the modes, there are interactive features.  Touching the screens will allow your child to see and hear special enhancements.   If you swipe upward on the page, you’ll see a menu with all the pages, and you can skip to the pages you like the best., or change your story mode.  The sound effects, music and animations are very well done.  Children should really enjoy these books, which were previously only available to educators.   Now they may be purchased from iTunes for $4.99.

Banana Ninja is a funny story that takes place in a grocery store.  There are rats threatening to take over, and it’s up to Banana Ninja and his new friend Cinnamon Sumo to save the day.  You’ll follow them through the different areas of the store as they do battle.  Can they save the day? Will they be able to put the bully rats back in their place?

While entertaining, the story also reinforces the concepts of courage, and using brains before fists.

The website suggests ages 9-13 for this one, but my personal opinion is that it is better suited for 8-10 year olds.

Mars Colony is also presented like a graphic novel.  It is set in the future, when humans are ready to set up colonies on Mars.   The Cheng family are part of the first group leaving.  This app has features the others didn’t have.  It has video clips that can be viewed within the story, and the option to take a “time out” to learn more about some of the subjects being discussed in the story.  It takes the reader away from the fictional cartoon, and does a mini science lesson.  Both the scientific vocabulary and the principles being discussed are explored further – but at the appropriate level, so it’s not lost on the intended audience.

Jenny Cheng is the family’s teenaged daughter.  She is a little bit unsure of how she feels about being on Mars for three years.  Then, on the first day there, she makes an amazing discovery, which helps her to realize that the Mars Colony might not be so bad after all.  This one is suggested for ages 9-14, and I think that’s a good fit.  my 11 year old boys thought it was interesting, and liked the “time out” parts the best.

I will state, for the record, that all the science is presented in modern, secular fashion, and that this fictional story also involves “Martian” characters.  

I did mention that this review includes a giveaway.  If you’d like to win the download codes for these apps, here’s how to enter.

[giveaway closed]

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*Facebook does not endorse or sponsor this giveaway, nor are they affiliated with it in any fashion.

**I was provided with these apps in order to write an honest, informed, blogged review.  I was not compensated for this post.