Great iPad Books for Toddlers

Michele Meleen
Father and son enjoying iPad book

Modern inventions like the e-book and iPad make it possible to take reading books to a whole new interactive level. These exciting story formats are great for busy toddlers because they offer the chance to interact with stories and characters instead of sitting still or quiet and listening.

Barnyard Dance!

Sandra Boynton is an author, illustrator, and children's song creator who has brought laughter and humor to young children for over forty years. The cute animal creatures and lyrical language in her board books translate perfectly to active reading on the iPad. Barnyard Dance! sticks out as one of her many titles that realizes its full potential in this new format. Narrated by John Stey, the story is relayed in the energetic style of a square dance caller. Little ones can follow the directives and copy the animal's moves as they listen to this lively story or touch the characters to make them join in the fun. The app book costs just under $3 and TechWithKids gives it five out of five stars saying it's best for "Toddlers that love to discover silly things," and it "excels at introducing kids to the concept that words are part of a story." Kirkus Review adds "this adaptation of Boynton's board book gets the tone and whimsy just right."

Who Stole the Moon

It's bedtime, but a little boy named Bertie can't go to sleep until he finds the moon. Toddlers' imaginations will be engaged as they help Bertie and his animal friends solve this mystery. The full iPad version of Who Stole the Moon by WindyPress sells for just under $5 and includes an interactive story with four games and eight songs performed by Susie Tallman and Richard Pleasance. Since it's available in over a dozen languages, children from all backgrounds can enjoy the book or use it as a learning tool when learning a second language. Fun Educational Apps reviewer Sarah says this is a top choice for parents and kids because "On top of the engagement level, the story is cute."

Go, Clifford, Go!

Toddlers love animals, bright colors, fun noises, and things that go. This interactive book based on Norman Bridwell's beloved Clifford the Big Red Dog character features all these things little kids enjoy. Follow the simple story as Clifford sees different types of vehicles moving around town. Toddlers can tilt the screen to make backgrounds move or tap the vehicles to watch them go and hear their horns or sounds. Go, Clifford, Go features realistic sounds and an energetic narrator to keep kids engaged. Although it's on the expensive side at just under $5, Common Sense Media gives the book four out of five stars, saying it "uses few words with plenty of repetition" and "is extremely simple."

Nighty Night

Nighty Night by Fox & Sheep Apps for Kids is a bedtime story about farm animals getting ready for bed. As each of the thirteen animals is introduced by the male narrator's soft, raspy voice, toddlers have to tap the screen and help turn out all their lights. This app of the year costs under $4 and includes winter or summer scene versions. EducationalAppStore teachers say "this is my new top recommendation for bedtime books with interactivity." You can also purchase extra animal scenes in the app to make the book longer. Parents will love the sneaky way this book helps kids get ready for bed without a fight and toddlers will love all the cute animals and fun interactive features.

Wee You-Things

Take a picture of your little one to create a unique "you" character to add to the story about embracing diversity. In this interactive book app, young readers see different silly characters and the sometimes wacky things that make them unique or different. Teachers With Apps lists this under $3 book as a favorite because "Every element in this simple read is stunning and the message so poignant." We You-Things features simple graphics and short, easy tasks like tapping the screen for fun sound effects. Parents love the important message behind the words while little ones love the fun music from the rock band, Rabbit!, coupled with the silly narratives.

What Color Is Bear's Underwear

No toddler library is complete without a silly book about body parts or underwear. What Color is Bear's Underwear is based on the book by Todd H. Doodler and aims to teach one concept: colors. Toddlers meet a cute, simple animated bear and help him choose the right color underwear for each day of the week. Readers listen to the story on each page first, then in the Read to Me mode, kids can search the screen by tapping on objects to find Bear's underwear. After the story, kids can color a picture and watch Bear's music video. This simple app costs just under $3 and Smart Apps for Kids gives it four out of five stars because it is "refreshingly simple" and "silly."

Interactive Story Time

Books and book apps on the iPad give readers fun activities to extend the story while keeping their message intact. If you've got a little one that needs to expend some last-minute energy before bed or loves being read to, but you're just too tired these books are ideal.

Great iPad Books for Toddlers