Round-Up: Cool iPad Children’s Books

07/17/2011 at 08:00 AM ET
Inti St Clair/Getty

The last few years have brought about huge advances in reading technology. Luckily for our kids, it means loads of cool new ways — including the iPad 2 — to experience their favorite children’s books. And to help you get a jump start on your collection, we’ve test-read a slew of storybooks featured in the iBooks library and these are some of our favorites:

Sandra Boynton’s The Going to Bed Book is perhaps our favorite transformation of a book to e-book, as it really takes advantage of the iPad platform to create a wonderful family reading experience.Kids have an option of being read to, or of looking at the pages on their own and hearing words aloud as they tap on them.

We loved the illustration where you can turn on the tap, which steams up the page and then children can wipe the steam away. Talk about pretty cool! Boynton’s silly animation and story really fit the e-book format. It will entertain a wide age range — from young children to early readers.

Fancy Nancy and the Sensational Babysitter by Jane O’Connor was another one of our favorites. Although it’s a pretty basic e-book with nothing particularly, dare we say, fancy going on, it really helps independent readers gain more confidence as individual words are highlighted as they read along.

Another hit with our mini testers was Toy Story 3 because kids can select to see certain images in 3D with the proper glasses. There also fun puzzles, games, music and painting activities for more hours of entertainment. But the coolest feature is the option to record someone reading the story so that kids can hear a special person like grandma or grandpa reading to them, instead of the usual pre-recorded stranger.

The Princess Dress-Up: My Sticker Book was also a winner. Though there isn’t much of a story, little ones will love adding their own picture so that they see their face in place of each princess’s face. Plus, your tots can dress them up in loads of pretty outfits and accessories. Little princess fans of all ages are guaranteed to love this one.

If you want your kids to be visually delighted, our picks are Miss Spider’s Tea Party and Animalia. Both feature fun, interactive illustrations, as well as mind-challenging games and puzzles that make them great for a long airplane or car trip.

Now, there’s still something to be said for the magic of turning paper pages with little ones snuggled under their covers. And we don’t in any way think books on the iPad are a replacement for good old fashioned story-telling.

But there are lots of amazing e-book experiences awaiting your child in the Apple App Store and iBooks library, so why not try some. They’re more fun, interactive and sometimes educational than an hour in front of the TV.

— Stephanie Phoenix

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fuzibuni on

Brilliant marketing by Apple. Getting kids to equate computers with childhood memories of bedtime stories and games is a genius way to build their future customer base. It also familiarizes kids with iTunes, iPads, and the apple app store early on. I can picture the marketing meeting where someone presented this idea as a way to build brand trust for the next generation of apple users.

fuzibuni on

And is it just me or does this website seem to do a lot of posts specifically promoting a certain company lately. This one plugged a lot of apple products. Is people magazine just doing free advertising out of the goodness of their heart or do they get paid for this stuff?

Bonnie on

Thanks for the heads up on the great books. My kids have already had tons of fun with the two I downloaded. I appreciate you guys reviewing and posting products we might like to to buy for our kids.

Rachel on

How about this — parents need to quit allowing their children to play with their $500 ipads that will eventually break and be worthless and go out and actually buy them books that will last their lifetimes and can be passed down to their own children in the future.


Ashley on

I don’t use the iPad as a babysitter, but as an educational tool. We sit together and read books, watch movies, write, etc. The iPad books are great because they really engage the children in what they are reading. I have to say Sandra Boynton’s Going To Bed book is my favorite. And not only do I have the iPad version, but the board book copy as well.

cn tower on

fuzibuni – LOL!! Check out the comments on the post about Halle Berry’s daughter.

ecl on

Reading a book to your child is also an engaging, interactive activity, Ashley. Only when you read the book, you get to do the engaging rather than the computer.

showbizmom on

Computers are a way of life, we can’t escape that. My kids share an Ipad and they love it. it’s not a toy that they take to school for sharing or out of the house to play with. It’s a treat when they get to use it. It’s educational and fun for them. We have to embrace this stuff but also remind and teach our kids about life before Apple’s technology 🙂

Jenner on

showbizmom, you’re probably one of the moms I see when I take my children on auditions–one who allows their young children to be on a iphone, iPad, or handheld video game device instead of bringing real books or drawing materials.

ang on

i don’t have kids, but when i do i don’t want them thinking reading a book electronically is normal. plus, a REAL book won’t cost hundreds to replace if it gets left somewhere or smashed if it gets dropped on the can be awesome, but in this case it doesn’t seem to offer any benefits over old-fashioned book in the’s bad enough so many children can’t write properly due to over-reliance on computers.

daria on

@jenner, haha. You obviously didn’t read what showbizmom wrote about not taking the devices out. Also, you’re criticizing her when you take your kids to auditions? Some people might judge that rather negatively. You are judging other parents based on what you see at a single audition, which may not be representative of their interactions with their kids. Shesh.

Indira on

We are unceremoniously taking away the imaginations of this generation. How sad. When I have kids, I’ll try to keep them off hi-tech stuff for as long as possible I’m glad I didn’t get a computer in my house until I was 10.

Angela on

Totally agree with showbizmom. My kids read traditional books and play games like Hi Ho Cherry-O, but they also have their own V-readers and love when dad allows them a little time on the iPad or iPhone. They even have their own iMac with which they play educational games. My three-year-old daughter is so proficient with computers that she may be a programmer for Apple one day, who knows. People seriously need to get over themselves and their antiquated way of thinking.

showbizmom on

Geeze Jenner way to judge! Thanks Daria!I would never take my kids to auditions! I know too much about this business to do so. But when we leave the house for other activities the Ipad stays at home and watch out…. my kids also know how to use our Iphones!! But no they don’t own one. Technology or not my kids are kids. As I write this my youngest is running around naked with paint all over her while my husband chases her for bath time. See Normal!! 🙂 Have a good week folks

Erika on

Just a quick question. Why do kids need their own iPads? I understand older kids needing them for school (high school or college) but little kids? It seems like a very expensive toy to me. What ever happened to playing with board games, dolls, and swing sets? Does everything have to be electronic now?

If the kid is playing with the parent’s ipad every once in a while, it is one thing. I can even understand a parent buying a few educational apps to *enhance* education. And I do understand using it for reading *on occasion*- it is so much easier to download a book then go out and get it. However, an iPad should NOT replace books or other forms of education. If a parent wants to let their child use their iPad, that make sense, because they can be fun and educational, however they shouldn’t be used for babysitting or as a replacement for books or educational toys. I don’t know why someone under the age of like 14 would need one at all.

Rachel on

Angela — I can’t tell you the number of parent complaints I’ve heard about a child dropping, breaking, spilling a drink on or purchasing dozens of what add up to be pricy aps on mommy or daddy’s ipod/ipad. And they always expect Apple or the phone stores to give them free replacements for these items or take the ap charges off their bills. No.

I completely understand the want for children to learn to use computers and technology, but there’s absolutely NO reason that children should be using mommy or daddy’s FIVE HUNDRED DOLLAR ipad to play games and read stories – especially when these devices are known to expose young children to unknown and uncessary amounts of radiation (this is not speculation these warnings are actually included with the devices!).

fuzibuni on

Thanks cn tower… I saw that post too. I remember when People bought this website they made a statement that these types of posts were not advertisements.

But having worked in television, I’m pretty well versed in the practice of product placement and the more “subtle” versions of advertising.

When I read posts like the one above, which is full of direct links to apple products and ends with the statement “There are lots of amazing e-book experiences awaiting your child in the Apple App Store and iBooks library, so why not try some” it is hard for me to believe that People Magazine is not profiting from it somehow.

Shannon on

I don’t see the point. Real books are better IMO.

Kristine on

I honestly find this have a child READ on an iPad. To each his own I guess, but for one I can’t afford an iPad and second I since books are still being made and schools are teaching solely on iPads and computers I find sitting down with a REAL book with my 2 1/2 yr old teaches him how to turn pages, point things out, etc.

I’ve been told by so many teachers that todays children don’t know how to look up stuff in a book or paragraph with the tool of technology. It’s sad. Sure one day books will probably go away..but why push a child into technology right now…my 2 1/2 yr old can wait until he’s in school and pushed along faster then when I was there.

miche on

To each his own. I won an ipad at work, but never use it so my daughter reads the interactive books and uses the paint programs on it. She loves it. But just like TV, her time on it is limited. My sister is a librarian so she also has a couple hundred books that she reads as well. Just about anything is fine in moderation. And like it or not, techonology is a part of our children’s lives now.

Nhzinga on

It’s great that Apple has included child-friendly apps, but I couldn’t fathom handing over a $700+ piece of equipment to a 5yo! Maybe something that wasn’t so expensive and was made for the little hands of a child–like a leap frog. It’s just common sense…

Lisa on

My husband works out of town during the week, so we have downloaded certain books that we already have hard copies of at home in order for him to be able to read stories to our son over the phone at bedtime. I hold the book and my husband reads them off his iPad. It is no substitute for Daddy being home and reading to our son directly, but it is something.

It is also great for on the go if our son is getting antsy at a restaurant or at a family gathering and gets tired of whatever he brought along to play with. We then have a whole library of books, games and shows for him to access. It is much easier to have everything on one small compact device than to lug around a bag full of books and toys. Sorry, I have back problems and another little one on the way and some things are just more convienent than packing the whole playroom for an outing.

Betsy Dezenfold on

This is a great list of must have iPad children’s books. I especially love the Sandra Boynton app – or more like anything she does.

In any case, just this week I found a truly wonderful app called “Flight of the Pamplemousse” it is beautifully illustrated and has very nice audio narration. It’s really a treat and seems good for kids 3 and up…The story is quite original and definitely worth a download, I can’t imagine someone not liking it.