Oceanhouse Media continues to expand its eBook library with some fun holiday titles: How The Grinch Stole Christmas!, The Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Tree, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Tacky’s Christmas. I reviewed the Apple versions of the apps for the iPad and iPhone.
The apps all include many interactive features and ways to enjoy the stories:
“Read to Me” — A narrator reads the story, with each word highlighted as they go along. A tap of the finger will cause the words associated with illustrations to pop up, such as “Grinch,” “Santa,” “snow,” “trees,” and “nose.”
“Read it Myself” — Children can choose to read the story at their own pace. There is still the option to turn the pages and highlight words by tapping on the pictures.
“Auto Play” — The narrator reads the story, pages flipping automatically. Again, children can tap the pictures to see highlighted words.
Each story uses the interactive features in its own way, with appropriate sound effects and animations.
In How The Grinch Stole Christmas! Dr, Seuss offers his own Grinchy take on the night before Christmas. His wonderful illustrations, with black and white and red as the primary palette, come to life in this ebook, but the words are the thing, with classic rhymes such as:
Then the last thing he took
Was the log for their fire!
Then he went up the chimney himself, the old liar.
On their walls he left nothing but hooks and some wire.
And the one speck of food
That he left in the house
Was a crumb that was even too small for a mouse.
The Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Tree, based on the book by Stan & Jan Berenstain
with Mike Berenstain, seems like it may have been inspired by Seuss’s Grinch, as Papa Bear learns the true meaning of Christmas in his quest for the perfect Christmas tree. It has some big vocabulary words, like “magnificent,” “Nativity,”collection,” and “festoons,” so parents may want to be on hand, or choose to read the story to younger children. The illustrations are bright and colorful, and there are snowy animations to add to the fun.
Tacky’s Christmas is another adventure featuring the free-spirited and unconventional Tacky the penguin, who helps his friends decorate in Nice Icy Land. But there are no trees – so how will they have a Christmas tree? You can be sure Tacky has an original solution. Helen Lester’s illustrations work well in the ebook format, and it’s fun to watch whimsical Tacky and his penguin friends get ready for Christmas.
Kids will really enjoy Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, with illustrations based on the 1964 holiday special that still runs every year on television. The sound effects are top-notch. Kids will hear some of their favorite lines of dialogue from the television special when they tap on a character. Rudolph’s shiny nose is also a special effect — it makes noise when you tap it and it really glows! The Abominable Snowman also has a pretty impressive growl. Parents will enjoy sharing this bit of nostalgia from their own childhood.
If you’re ready to get into the holiday mood, these four eBooks are a great way to start.