Happy iBirthday, Dr. Seuss!

seuss bookshelfYes, it’s the birthday of that grand old champion of fun, quirky, easy to read children’s literature: Dr. Seuss. As Dr. Seuss books are getting quite a workout in my household of late (I’ve got one early reader and one just starting to learn his letters), I thought I’d take a moment on this fine day to give a short rundown on some of our household’s favorites.

What follows is a list of my favorite titles from my iOS Seuss collection, in a very rough order of my preferences. (Disclaimer: I’ve received a complimentary review code for several of these titles…) The books are iOS apps and are all created by the same company (Oceanhouse Media) so nearly all the books are of the same quality, with a few having a bit better quality voice actors performing the reading. Thus, the ordering is primarily just based on which stories are my favorites. They each offer three reading options: one operates simply as an ebook where you can read at your own pace, one where the book is read aloud but you must turn the virtual pages, and an autoplay mode where the reading and page turning are all done for you. In recent months, most of these apps have also incorporated a way for you to record your own voice onto the iPad/iPhone so that your child can listen to your (or a grandparent, etc…) voice reading the book as they page through it.

After each title, I list the current (as of this writing) price for the app, but since these titles are all on sale for the birthday celebration, I also listed in parenthesis the more common “regular” price that appears in the store. All the books are conveniently “Universal” meaning one purchase works on both an iPad and an iPhone. Each entry is linked to the iTunes store if you’re inspired to purchase one.

Dr. Seuss Bookshelf
This is not a book, but serves as a central hub for the many available Seuss books on iOS. It has ways to “arrange” the bookshelf including a “shelf” for one’s favorites. This makes a handy one-stop-shop for all my many Seuss books. There are ads for all the new books as they come out, of course, but what I find truly unfortunate is that one still needs to have all the other books installed (and clogging up my folders) to have the bookshelf work. I’ve found it much easier to simply throw all my Seuss books in the same folder on my iPad and delete this “bookshelf” to have one less app running around on my device.

Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection #2
$9 (was $15)
This collection contains: Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss’s ABC, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back!, There’s a Wocket in my Pocket!, and Hop on Pop. While I do not own the collection, I rank all but the Cat Comes Back very highly as my favorites. If I hadn’t already collected several of the other titles, this would be my first choice. It is good to note that there is just a small savings for purchasing either collection “bundle”, particularly if you happen to get one or more of the individual books on sale. However, I do appreciate having one app taking up less real estate on my iPad’s screen and memory..

Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection #1
$9 (was $15)
This collection contains: The Cat in the Hat, The Foot Book, 1 Fish 2 Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Fox in Socks, and Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?   With the classic Cat in the Hat, tongue-twisting Fox in Socks, and onomatopoeia focused Mr. Brown, collection #1 is also a solid winner. Only The Foot Book isn’t in my “top 10” of Seuss.

There’s a Wocket in my Pocket! – Dr. Seuss
$2 (was $4)
Probably my favorite Seuss book of all time. A great color scheme, funny little creature names, all living somewhere in my house? What’s not to like?

Dr. Seuss’s ABC
$2 (was $4)
I admit I just can’t get into teaching my kids the ABCs, seems sort of a stuffy boring affair. However, this book is a hoot to read, I can almost get myself going into a rap as I read through this one. One of the few in the series where I avoid the “read to me” feature as I much prefer my own style.

Green Eggs and Ham – Dr. Seuss
$2 (was $4)
Another classic, and it isn’t too long to read (an important feature for when bedtime routines are running late.) One of the first books kids can read themselves that manages to also be fairly amusing.

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins – Dr. Seuss
$3 (was $5)
I remember this book from back when I was a kid. It is a bit long for some bedtime routines but I was (and still am) fascinated with how many hats just magically appear. Some scary situations there but Bartholomew keeps coming out on top, and the nasty nephew even gets his comeuppance!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – Dr. Seuss
$3 (was $5)
The TV show was a classic, even the movie was pretty good, the book doesn’t have the cool “You’re a Mean One” song, but is now a timeless classic. My boys frequently request it, no matter what time of year.

The Cat in the Hat – Dr. Seuss
$1 (was $4)
The classic is always a hit with my young boys. This version is particularly nice, as I feel the voice actor is one of the best in the Seuss App series – each character has a bit of personality to it without being over the top.

The Lorax – Dr. Seuss
$3 (was $5)
I love the old animated TV show, and although the show’s songs still run through my head as I read this book, they aren’t a part of the app. The story is still very good, though and remains one of my favorite kids’ books.

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish – Dr. Seuss
$2 (was $4)
A great book for beginning readers. It doesn’t grab my attention like some of the other titles on the list, but I have no intention of deleting it any time soon since it is such a great book for building early readers’ vocabularies.

And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street – Dr. Seuss
$2 (was $4)
I’m a bit torn with this one. On the one hand it is a great example of encouraging kids’ imaginations, but on the other hand it slightly glorifies lying. Of course, he doesn’t lie to his dad in the end, but it almost feels like a let-down. The pictures of the outlandish things the boy conjures up are a great source of entertainment to both my boys and myself.

A Whale of a Tale!: All About Porpoises, Dolphins, and Whales
$6 ($4 when initially released in summer 2012)
While not officially Seuss books, there are a few Seuss-themed apps on the iTunes app store that attempt to add a bit of science knowledge to the learning mix. This had a topic I thought my boys would enjoy. While the book is “OK”, although a bit higher level than standard Seuss books (it’s more for a parent to read to children) what disappointed me was the presentation quality. Unlike nearly every other book mentioned above, one doesn’t “swipe” to turn pages – you have to press a forward or backward triangle near the bottom. There isn’t a button to jump to a specific page, you can only hop to the main menu and start over or jump back to the page from which you came. Finally, there is no autoplay (not a huge deal) so even though it can be read to you, one still has to press the button to forward each page.

Well that’s a pile books mentioned, I know.
All handy to read on the go.
Find one or two that you like
Just don’t read them on a bike
I suppose you could if you just drive real slow.
(One can see why I read Dr. Seuss and don’t rely on my own writing skills…)

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

2 Responses to “Happy iBirthday, Dr. Seuss!”

  1. That’s really cool! Of course, I don’t think anything will replace actually reading a physical book with your kids, turning pages and pointing to words and pictures with your fingers. But then I’m just old fashioned like that.

    My favorite Dr. Seuss book is A Great Day for Up. It was written under one of Dr. Seuss’ other surnames: Theo LeSieg (which is just Geisel spelled backwards, which was his real name). The artwork in A Great Day for Up was done by a different person, though. Quentin Blake, I believe.

    I took a children’s literature class in college so I learned about all this kind of stuff. My favorite book we read in that class was called Officer Buckle and Gloria. You should read that one to your kids, I bet you’d like it! I wonder if that one’s on the iPad yet?

  2. One thing I forgot to mention. When I was writing for The Dallas Morning News, I had to review a Grinch video game based on the live action movie. I wrote the whole review in rhyme!

    “Presenting for the first and maybe last time,
    A game review written entirely in rhyme….”

    That’s about all I can remember, I’d have to dig through my old portfolio for the rest!

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