We’ve often talked about ‘apps’ here on Babyccino and I definitely fall into the camp of loving them for my kids but I do have some rules …
1. I want them to be beautiful
2. I want them to be imaginative and to use the media to its best advantages (so not JUST being a book or a TV show – it has to be interactive so the kids have a different experience then they would in another media)
3. I don’t like them being part of a big corporate machine promoting some already huge kid’s brand (I realise this is highly hypocritical from a lady whose career was spent in advertising but this is mainly because they rarely satisfy points 1 and 2 and are seemingly lazy/cheap way to expose children to a bigger brand — I am all open to be shown I’m wrong on this!)
I really love the ‘Peekaboo’ (Peekaboo Barn, Peekaboo Wild and Peekaboo Forest) apps for my 2-year-old but my 4-year-old needs something a bit more. Enter the new Cinderella App from Nosy Crow (the same people who made The Three Little Pigs app I wrote about a while ago).
Nosy Crow’s 2nd App, Cinderella includes dazzling extras that my kids can not get enough of: helping Cinderella with her chores, stacking the king’s invites to the ball, dressing the ugly step-sisters, building the carriage, choosing Cinderella’s dress for the ball and even the music she dances with the prince too (our favourite bit!). All beautifully illustrated (tick!) and narrated by child-actress, Freya Wilson (who you may recognise from The King’s Speech).
I don’t know about you but my i-phone is becoming an increasingly important tool in retaining my sanity as a parent. It now holds a dozen or so children’s Apps which get us through those boring, frustrating daily-life melt-down moments. As boredom levels peak whilst my 2-year-old is pushed around in the Supermarket trolley, I whip it out and let her paint pictures, guess the animals (in Peekaboo Barn or Peekaboo Wild which we wrote about here) or just blow up some balloons with the fabulous Balloonimals.
These games are perfect entertainment… but can a book work as an App? I guess you all know by now that I love children’s books and don’t mind telling you I was a touch conservative about the idea of a book being on my phone or i-pad. However Nosy Crow’s Three Little Pigs App has totally converted me and I’m now so excited what new technology can bring to brilliant stories. (more…)
I was introduced to Camilla via a friend who just knew we’d get on with each other, both being enthusiastic kid’s book lovers. We met for coffee and tried to narrow down our favourites — it was a hard task which lead to her rather brilliant suggestion that we should do top ten lists on Babyccino — so you have Camilla to thank for this series!
Camilla has been a children’s book editor for 17 years and has written a number of books, including Lulu’s Shoes and The Littlest Dinosaur and the Naughty Rock and is currently working with Axel Scheffler (of The Gruffalo fame) on a new series of books for toddlers. Last year she teamed up with an ex-collegue to launch Nosy Crow, a new publisher of children’s books and apps – watch out for some very exciting launches from them soon (I was lucky enough to see one of their forthcoming apps in development and it looks SO SO SO exciting – more on that soon!). Camilla lives in London and has 2 daughters, aged 5 and 3. Here is her list (which she has narrowed down to ‘baby books’ – hmmmm! that might be cheating Camilla!):
1.) Peekabooks: Peekaboo Farm — Emily Bolam
Just ideal for very small babies. Dead simple, a small board book with gatefold flaps, ending in a mirror. I read this again and again with my children and it saw us through many a mealtime. My own copy is now encrusted with food!
2.) Goodnight Moon — Margaret Wise Brown & Clement Hurd
First published in the ’40s and has now become a classic. With a gentle rhyming text and a tiny mouse to spot on every spread, it’s just a lovely book to wind down with before bed.
3.) Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? — Eric Carle
Colours and Eric Carle’s beautiful animals: this is one that children learn very quickly and love reciting with you.
4.) Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy — Lynley Dodd
With its simple, very linear narrative and fun, ’scary’ moment, this is just great for toddlers who want a bit of story but can’t actually follow a complicated plot.
5.) Busy Railway — Rebecca Finn
Sturdy little board book with sliders to move – one of the books that my girls would constantly get off the shelf to be read.
6.) Good Night, Gorilla — Peggy Rathmann
So simple, so charming, with almost no text, this is the story of a zoo keeper trying to get his animals to go to bed, with very little success. Makes me feel better about my own failures in the sleep-training department.
7.) The Tiger Who Came to Tea — Judith Kerr
Possibly my favourite young picture book, it is just perfection – could read it till the cows come home.
8.) Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball — Vicki Churchill & Charles Fuge
A delightful, exuberant text about the sheer joy of being alive.
9.) You Choose! — Pippa Goodhart & Nick Sharratt
This is one of my girls’ favourites still, even though they’re a bit older. It has huge, busy scenes to look at and its very much something parent and child can enjoy together.
10.) The Very Hungry Caterpillar — Eric Carle
Quite simply the best novelty book ever. Genius.
To see other book lists, click here.
My Iphone is my saviour — whenever I need a 5-minute distraction for my kids (think restaurant, meeting, waiting room) I hand them the device and they entertain themselves without interruption! Even my 3-year-old knows how to unlock the phone and start up his favourite applications in a time frame of about 2 seconds (can you believe we struggled with the computer 10 years ago?).
One of his favourite apps is Peekaboo Barn (and Peekaboo Jungle) which I’ve written about before. There are now 3 new animals to add for free via an update on the Itunes store, but if you still have to get the whole app all together, you can quickly email email@example.com, mention the country you live in and that you’re a Babyccino Kids reader, and the first 20 readers to email will get a code for a free download.
Sorry, the threshold of 20 has been reached!
Sometimes we experience moments with our kids that bring tears to our eyes. Like recently, when my 2-year-old boy bravely stepped forward to sing his St. Maarten song for the strangers in the doorway, raising his homemade lantern in his hand, trying to sing the well memorized song but barely making himself heard thanks to losing his voice to a bad cold… So brave. So sweet. SO totally adorable.
Or this morning, when I downloaded Peekaboo Farm for him on my Iphone and the sweetest look of happy surprise on his face made me nearly eat him up! (I immediately downloaded peekaboo Wild too, another instant success.)
Peekaboo Farm and Peekaboo Wild are super cute educational Iphone applications aimed at one and two-year-olds, available in both English and Spanish. All the graphics are designed by Divya Srinivasan, regular contributor to the New Yorker, and are seriously very well done.
A total recommendation, both from my snotty son and me!