App of my eye: PicPocket puts picture books on iPhone
My family loves books, traditional books, that is. We don’t do e-books, because we like flipping through the pages – dog-earing a few – and using just the right bookmark to find our place.
Then we tried the PicPocket Books app for the iPhone/iTouch. PicPocket offers downloadable picture books for kids ages 2-8.
Publisher Lynette Mattke says the apps aren’t meant to replace print books or time spent reading to your children. They can actually help enhance the reading experience, she says. “Our apps offer a ‘learn-to-read’ feature where the text is highlighted as the word is spoken, encouraging the connection between the written and spoken word.”
We tried three PicPocket titles. Here’s a summary of each and what our tiny testers thought:
- I Can Do It Too, by Karen Baicker, with illustrations by Ken Wilson-Max. ($2.99 on iTunes)
What it’s about: A little girl who wants to do all the things that grown-ups and big kids do: bake cakes, ride bikes, button her clothes the right way. To prove that she “can do it, too” she mimics what she sees.
Soon, she feels confident enough to pass along her big-girl wisdom to her younger sibling.
Did kids like it?: My 4-year-old found a kindred spirit in the heroine: They’re both barely out of diapers, on the cusp of being big and have a new baby in the house. Now that she’s got the wind in her sails, my daughter is ready for what’s next: learning how to tie her shoelaces and chewing “buggle gum” without swallowing it – just like everybody else.
- What A Pest, by Maryann Cocca-Leffler. ($2.99 on iTunes)
What it’s about: A big sister who thinks her little sis Jessie is The. Biggest. Pest. Jessie follows her big sister everywhere, intrudes on her private time with her best friend and even learns her sister’s talent-show dance routine. Aarrgh! “Why does she have to do everything I do?” she wonders. But it takes a small emergency for Big Sis to see Jessie in a new light.
Did kids like it?: This one hit home for my 7- and 9-year-olds, who treat their younger sister as Bis Sis treats Jessie. And just like the book’s characters, they learn that they actually can get along.
- A, My Name Is Andrew, by Mary McManus Burke, with illustrations by Donna Ingemanson. ($0.99)
What it’s about: A tongue-twisting, multicultural journey through the alphabet: Andrew, from Augusta, picks apples with Aunt Adrienne in August. Oki lives in Oakland with a pet opossum, Orino, who wears outrageous ornate overalls and plays the oboe.
Did kids like it?: All three girls loved this one, and it was my hands-down favorite. We loved the author’s choice of words, which were descriptive, funny and perfectly matched with the whimsical illustrations.
Mom’s verdict: I’d whip out the PicPocket app in a heartbeat to keep my 4-year-old busy and to help her with her reading. These little gems really come in handy while waiting in the doctor’s office or while traveling.