Monday, August 26, 2013

Children's App Review, Stella and Sam

Children's App Review, Stella and Sam
by Susan Stephenson,

When you rummage around in iTunes the way I do, searching for quality iPad children's apps, it's striking how some story apps have been made with skill and care, thinking about young children and their interests - and well, others haven't. Because I love both great writing and beautiful illustrations, I have literally shuddered over some very poor book apps. Some have pictures - but not illustrations. Some have words on pages - but not stories to engage children's hearts and minds.

Luckily, I found the Stella and Sam apps! Today I'd like to tell you a little about both the Stella and Sam Story Pack, and Draw Along with Stella and Sam.

The Stella and Sam Apps are based on the television show and the bestselling picture book series by Marie-Louise Gay. Stella and Sam books have been translated into fifteen languages. They have sold over one million copies and are loved by children all over the world.

Stella and Sam Story Pack

These five interactive stories are perfect for early childhood and Kinder kids. I like that they're gentle, and centred around everyday experiences and play that kids will relate to. This isn't a book app - there are no words on the screen to read along with. They are animated story adventures, and take the kids on journeys in the woods, through puddles, and into fun. Every so often, in a natural-seeming way, the story is interrupted for young "readers" to complete a task - perhaps to build a bridge from flowers so ants can cross a stream, to echo bird calls, or to dress a snowman. This interactivity is done very well, and the illustrations themselves are beautiful - soft and cartoonish. Navigation is simple and logical. Even the voices are good - this is a quality app with great attention to detail.

Draw Along with Stella and Sam

Draw Along with Stella and Sam isn't an interactive story book but the app features the same cute characters. Kids are encouraged to choose a shape, decorate it and watch it come to life in an animation. They can take a picture of their shape too, and decorate it, then share it with others. Kids can even share little movies made when their animated shape comes to life. Here's a frog shape I decorated with supplied stamps, and snapped:

Neither of these apps is free. The links above will take you to iTunes so you can check the current price. I believe both are quality apps, and worth paying for, or watch out via sites like Apps Gone Free for when the price drops.

If you're interested in reading more of my iPad app reviews, you might like to check out the Pinterest board I've devoted to them. 


  1. Love the Stella and Sam story pack! Both my kids love this app!

  2. I did not get to see all their apps, but from what I have seen they are well designed learning apps. Like the two characters too.

    1. I think I read where you like Toca Boca apps, Beth? At zinc Roe's website, there's a press release about them working together. Exciting times ahead!


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