My Beastly ABC’s Now Available for iPhone

gI_130197_title_treatment_007-IG_csDuncan Studio has released its popular storybook app, My Beastly ABC’s, for the iPhone. Previously available only on the iPad, My Beastly ABC’s has been highly rated and ranked as one of the top ten iPad apps for kids.

Through the use of interactive animation and an imaginative plot, My Beastly ABC’s tells the story of a young boy as he encounters mythical creatures from around the world. Each page is filled with artwork and invites readers to interact with characters from the scene. Narrated by actor Jim Dale, of Harry Potter audio book fame, the app is an experience that the entire family will appreciate.

My Beastly ABC’s encourages children to strengthen their reading skills with the read-aloud feature while also learning a positive way to confront everyday apprehension. Additionally, the app includes an index where kids can find more information about each of the creatures within the story. My Beastly ABC’s for both iPad and iPhone is now available in the App Store on the iPhone and iPad or on iTunes.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Launches Curious George’s Town App

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt debuts Curious George’s Town for iPad and iPhone. Developed for preschool- to kindergarten-aged children, Curious George’s Town teaches smart saving and spending habits while engaging kids in creating a virtual world complete with roller coasters, dinosaurs, and farm animals, as well as neighborhood staples such as the pet store, bakery, and fire station.

The app features a unique reward chart that parents and caregivers can customize by assigning a specific coin value to a list of real-world tasks—such as cleaning up toys—incentivizing children to complete real-life responsibilities. Kids can also supplement their stockpile of virtual savings by tackling in-app educational games.

Curious George’s Town from HMH Kids on Vimeo.

Mike the Knight Trains Knights in New App Pack

MiketheknightHit Entertainment and Funny Garbage Inc., an app design firm, launched the Mike the Knight: Knight in Training Game Pack for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. With six interactive games in one, the Mike the Knight Game Pack invites and transports young knights-in-training into an imaginative world of castles, dragons, and trolls.

Mike the Knight: Knight in Training Game Pack features everyone’s favorite young hero and includes Jam Tart Fling, Fruit Shoot, Paint the Castle, Jigsaw Jumble, Seek & Find, and Match Mission. This game app features fun missions for children to practice their archery skills, learn shapes and colors, unlock different puzzles, search for hidden objects, and match their favorite characters from memory, while developing children’s cognitive skills and hand-eye coordination. The game’s easy and hard modes welcome all children to play.

The app can be downloaded at the following links for the U.S. and for the UK.

 

Gameloft and Mattel Launch Uno & Friends

uno-and-friendsGlobal digital and social game publisher Gameloft and Mattel launched Uno & Friends. Available for free on Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, Uno & Friends brings an entirely new social dimension to the classic, fast-paced, and competitive gameplay of Uno. With multiplatform play, Uno & Friends can be played anywhere at any time.

Fans can now drop Wild Draw Fours and Reverse Cards on friends, family, and Uno players the world over via smartphones and tablets. Invite and challenge up to three other players in real-time using social networks, and explore unprecedented customization for the most complete Uno experience on digital devices. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Everyone Has One, But I Want Mine to be Unique

Last Friday marked my niece Courtney’s eighth birthday, and what was she hoping for most? An iPod. Now, in my opinion, an 8-year-old doesn’t have much business with an iPod, but kids today are getting into electronics at a much younger age. Though part of Courtney’s argument for “needing” an iPod was, “everyone has one except for me,” the first thing she did when she got it was personalize it. Before even putting a song on it, she slapped a peace-sign sticker right on the back of it—10 minutes out of the box (hence why 8-year-olds probably shouldn’t have iPods). But, this was her way of making it her own.

For parents buying their children expensive devices such as smartphones, iPods, or even portable gaming devices like the Nintendo 3DS or the PS Vita, there are some awesome products on the market that will allow kids to dazzle and personalize their devices without placing a never-gonna-come-off, gooey-backed sticker on said device.

Plugy

Plugy, from Hashy, is a universal 3.5mm plug that fits snuggly into all standard headphone jacks. Plugys come in more than 40 different styles, including zoo animals, robots, and glow-in-the-dark options. Plugy has something for everyone, including a rainbow, Eiffel Tower, and an apple stem, and allows kids to  take their smart device to a more personal level in a not-so-permanent way. Plugys are made of rubber and will not break when inserted into the headphone jack. They even protect the device from rain, dust, and sand when earphones are not plugged in. Plugys are available on amazon.com and from Hanging Mobile Gallery. For more information on Plugys, email plugyUSA@gmail.com. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: HolograFX Are Making 90s Kids Everywhere Jealous

As a kid growing up in the 1990s, I remember one of the coolest novelty-type items I had was a pair of glasses that reflected rainbow peace sign holograms in the dark black lenses. Today, the fun of holograms is being taken to a whole new level by Goliath Games.

After seeing Goliath’s new product line for this year at American International Toy Fair, I was taken around to the back of the exhibit to see the grand finale: HolograFX. A new augmented reality app accessory, HolograFX turns a smartphone or iPod Touch into a special effects holographic magic show. Each HolograFX box comes with 20 tricks, a free downloadable app, and stage to create a magic show with holograms.

Goliath HolograFXIn the trick that was demoed for me at Toy Fair, kids can place an image of the “corpse” of Siren Electra inside the “reanimation chamber.” Then, after a little bit of magic, a holographic image of Siren-come-back-to-life climbs out of the chamber and moves and speaks on the stage. In addition to the pre-loaded hologram images included in the set, kids ages 7 and up can become a hologram themselves! It was by far the coolest thing at Toy Fair, and I was jealous I grew up with holographic glasses instead of being able to turn myself into a hologram when I was a kid. This toy truly feels like a toy of the future.

HolograFX won’t be in stores until late summer, but the set can be preordered by clicking here.

For more commentary from Marissa, check back each Monday afternoon. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!

JibJab Reveals StoryBots Expansion

Brothers Evan and Gregg Spiridellis, co-creators of JibJab, are at it again with StoryBots, expanding its library this month with a range of new titles.

StoryBots, a multi-platform entertainment property for kids and parents, was created to re-invent the traditional story time every child and parent enjoy.

Recently featured on The New Ricki Lake Show, the StoryBots are brightly-colored, infinitely curious little creatures who live in the world beneath our screens (iPhones, iPads, computers, televisions).  Their mission is to make learning fun for kids–and life easier for parents–by offering personalized eBooks, videos, activity sheets, and more. [Read more...]

Fisher-Price Combines Toys, Tech to Ignite Children’s Imaginations, Infants’ App-etite for Learning

Fisher-Price has developed a new line of Apptivity products that bring a whole new level of interactivity, learning, and imagination to children to create larger-than-life play experiences.

Infants can connect with their favorite Laugh & Learn characters with the Laugh & Learn Apptivity Storybook Reader. The Storybook Reader is a case with benefits, allowing moms and dads to protect their iPhone or iPod touch from dribble and drool while their baby enjoys engaging content, turning the page of the book or swiping the screen to advance the content. [Read more...]

Word Winder Releases iPhone App and Free Holiday Puzzle Updates

The creators of the Word Winder brand of board games, puzzle books, Nook app, and iPad app are introducing two additions to the Word Winder line: the Word Winder iPhone app, as well as a free update for the iPad app. Both are now available through iTunes. [Read more...]

Cleveland Company Launches Patented iPhone Game

Heartland Consumer Products, LLC, introduced Square Shooters, the world’s first deck of cards on dice, last year; now the company brings the game to the iPhone.

Square Shooters features nine patented dice which include all 52 playing card faces (plus 2 jokers), specially arranged so players can achieve all poker hands. The game’s challenge is to match a real poker hand in three rolls or less, trumping common poker-dice games that depend upon plain dotted dice.  [Read more...]