Dino-Store and My Dad Drives a Roller Coaster Car

Dino-Store by Bluemarker
Recommend Ages 3 to 7
Dino-Store
Story by Roger Sedaret and Illustrated by Trade Loeffler

When I read the review last year of this award-winning app,  I was extremely happy that we could purchase it for only a $1.99.  The concept of a an interactive dinosaur story seemed like a great fit for my energetic four and five year-old group.   I have used it twice with two different groups.  We had a blast.

It is the story of a boy who goes to the grocery store with his dad. They decide to buy the largest eggs.  On the way home the eggs start to hatch.  These are not ordinary eggs.  They are dinosaur eggs!  The twelve dinosaurs are extremely hungry and eat all of the other groceries.  When they arrive home the mother is quite shocked, but agrees to take them in until the family can decide what to do. They are very cute and expressive on each page as the family interacts with them.  Chaos breaks out over dinner with food flying.  Loud snores at bedtime make it impossible for anyone, but the dinosaurs to get any sleep.  The next day the father and the boy take the dinosaurs all over town trying to find a home for them.  It has a surprise ending that had the class laughing.

On every page there is something to fun to do.  The purple dinosaurs get into lots of  mischief.  They are messy, silly and the kids especially loved when one fell into the toilet.  There are two ways to read the story; by yourself or follow along and each way highlights the words while the book is being read.  This was fantastic in a group of 16 children because each got a turn and there was so much to do and laugh over.  I could see a family loving this app at home too.  I had one issue when I tried to use it recently.  The pages did not turn correctly and the app would only play vertically.  I uninstalled and reinstalled  it from the iPad and it has worked fine since then.

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My Dad Drives a Roller Coaster Car by Crab Hill Press
Recommended Ages 4 to 6

Story by Bill Doyle and Illustrated by Daniel Guidera

This story starts with rocking Beach Boy type music that sets the mood for the story of a boy who wants to drive his father’s car.  Hank’s father drives a very special car because it is a roller coaster.  It seems like everyone in his family has a really awesome vehicle from an amusement park ride except for him. As each family member comes along the reader is invited experience it along with the driver and Hank.  The rocket takes off, the log ride splashes, and the tea-cup spins.  The silly big faces of the characters are funny to look and a way to engage the reader with their actions and expressions. It has two ways to read; by yourself or follow along as it is read  aloud.  The text  highlights when the app reads the book aloud, but not when alone read by user.

This app is also priced at $1.99. I picked it for my class because I  thought  it was an interesting concept and my kids would enjoy it the amusement park setting.  Unfortunately, it was a mixed bag.  Though it had action, humor and worked smoothly, only half of the class continued to be interested after they had their turn. The class was mostly boys too! I gave them a choice of a second turn with the app  or going on to our next song and the majority chose the song.   It is a bright colorful app with an amusing theme, but with so many apps out there I doubt I would use it again.  Sadly, I think it missed the mark with my kiddos.

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