Looking for good storybook apps for your toddlers, preschoolers, and early elementary students? You’ll want stories with excellent narration, word highlighting, and both read-to-me and read-to-self options. These apps should help get your kids reading and enjoying stories.
Also, I look for apps that have words and also am careful about the size of those words. There are many apps whose text is too small that even kids with great eyes would struggle to read it. (Let alone us big kids with reading glasses.)
Good Storybook Apps for Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Early Elementary Kids
Going to Bed Bookby Sandra Boynton
ages 1 – 5
I love Boyton’s books — and this app of my favorite board book is exceptional with great interactivity and choices!
Baryard Dance by Sandra Boynton
ages 1 – 5
$3.99 iOS / Android
Love the book? Now love the story app, too! Not only are the illustrations animated but you can have someone read it to you (with word highlighting) or you can read it yourself. (You might also like The Going to Bed Book app or her 5 book bundle app as well.) Boynton is my kids’ favorite board book author of all time!
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sheri Buskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
ages 1 – 5
One of the best picture books EVER, this storybook app is a calming ode to trucks and bedtime. Listen and read along or read it to yourself.
Pat the Bunny
A fun, very interactive new version of the classic lift the flap picture book. Simple but engaging.
“See the colorful toy.
Can you find out what’s inside?”
Byron Barton Collection #1
Bold but simple drawings catch kids attention — with tappable words and pictures, animations, the ability to record your own narration, and more. My kids were big fan of Byron Barton books when they were little!
Millie Was Here: Meet Millie
We think this book is hilariously cute! JJ has read it so many times that she can recite it by heart. If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is. It’s a really funny, interactive story about Millie and her love of bacon. More from Millie: The Lost Key and Millie’s Book of Tricks and Treats.
The Monster At the End of this Book
Remember life before Elmo? When Grover was the cutest character back in the day? Well, Grover gets to star in this funny, well-made story app, The Monster At the End of this Book.
*If you have younger kids who might be scared, remind them that Grover is a monster, and reveal that there’s only one monster in this story, Grover. (I think it’s okay to share that information, then your child will think it’s funny and not scary.)
Unlike other book apps, the words only appear when Grover narrates them, and are shown in yellow highlighting. This feature makes it great for younger readers to follow along with the text. While Grover talks to us (I just love that he talks in dialog bubbles,) more illustrations are added to the page with great, noisy sound effects – crash, boom, bang!
My kids and I adore this silly Grover-narrated story and think it’s the perfect book to be told digitally. The sound effects and Grover’s very dramatic narration make this hilarious story so much better than the original book (which I have never said before about any book, and might not ever say again.) This book app will be a favorite for years to come and is perfect for ages 3 to 10.
Dr. Seuss Treasury
ages 2 – 7
FREE for 7 days / Subscription iOS
55 books are available in this collection with tons of cool features including highlighted narration and tappable words and illustrations.
Little Critter All By Myself
The story app is exactly the same as it’s book counterpart except in it, the only interactive elements are when you touch pictures and then you’ll see and hear the word like “socks” or “door”.
Crêpes by Suzette by Monica Wellington
$2.99 iOS / Android
I love this whimsical story about a girl named Suzette who makes and sells crêpes in a little cart in the streets of Paris. Readers will enjoy seeing the people and sites she visits as well as hearing music and French phrases. See a map of the city with the places Suzettte visits, get a crepe recipe, and watch a videos of sites.
Tale of Peter Rabbit Pop Out! by Beatrix Potter
Cinderella A 3-D Fairy Tale (Noisy Crow)
A British female voice narrates this wonderfully illustrated Cinderella filled with character’s speech bubbles. Touch the characters and they flip around or speak. Touch the room and move around to get a closer look. As Cinderella gallops to the ball, we get more of a movie feel.
The Three Little Pigs 3D (Noisy Crow)
The same cute narrator reads us this story and yeah and hallelujah, one of the pigs is a girl!! Like Cinderella, the illustrations are colorful and a bit like the Charlie and Lola collage style. It’s a great retelling of this familiar story.
Tacky Goes to Camp
I love the Tacky stories and, as usual, Oceanhouse Media did a fantastic job adapting the picture book for the iPad.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
It just took once time reading this storybook app for my kids (ages 6 and 9) to become huge Charlie Brown fans! While we hear the narrator, the original Charlie Brown voice, the Vince Guaraldi music plays. What’s more, when the characters speak, it is the voices we’re used to from the 1965 TV movie, plus interactive bonuses like playing Schroeder’s piano and decorating Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. Instead of comic-style illustrations, Charlie Brown Christmas uses layered textured paper-cut illustrations. Love it!
Manuel’s Socks – Nok Story
I love the message in this bilingual story about an Okapi who learns to accept who he is. As you read the story, you’ll be able to interact with the animations and after you finish you can create your own characters.
My Little Pony Twilight Sparkle: Teacher For a Day
Not only can you both listen to the storybook or read the story yourself but kids can also record themselves reading the story! Is a great feature for parents who want their child to practice reading? If your child loves My Little Pony like mine, then anything to do with MLP will be a hit!
The Little Bug by Jaclyn Littman
ages 3 – 7
Learn about backyard insects in this warm-hearted story app for young children with beautiful illustrations and music, interactive touch-points, and read-to-me and read-it-myself options.
ages 3 – 7
It’s nice to get some cultural diversity which you do with this Chinese folk-tale storybook app about a young boy named Bing-Wen who has a magical brush. He must use his drawings (that come to life) to escape the greedy Emperor. Excellent.
Prancing Dancing Lily
Lily is a cow who loves to dance. She leaves the farm to search for her place in the world only to discover her place was at the farm all along. The vibrant illustrations and story are charming plus and there’s a fun puzzle with three levels of difficulty to do once you’ve read the story.
I Need My Monster
ages 3 – 7
When his monster goes on vacation, Ethan searches for a replacement monster for the week. But he’s very picky. And not just any monster will do. Interactive animation, word highlighting, narration, music, sound effects, and more.
Axel’s Chain Reaction
What a cool STEM interactive storybook app! Not only do you read Axel’s story of struggling to fit in but you’ll find you can help him make things in the kitchen, help with ideas, and build a game. The app also includes biographies of 3 kinetic artists and instructions for making kinetic sculptures.
Help Dasha on her quest to save her village — you can read the storybook app yourself or have the narrator read it to you plus you’ll meet magical creatures, solve riddles, play games, and find hidden surprises. I love this adventure and the illustrations, in particular, are amazing.
The Artist Mortimer
Every time Mortimer paints something, it leaves the world and stays put on his canvas. Which people do not like. (Of course!) Mortimer loves painting but he doesn’t want to steal everything so he must come up with a solution. You’ll enjoy this darling story and the gorgeous illustrations throughout. (You might also like The Artist Mortimer 2.)
Previously Recommended Book Apps
Bartelby’s Book of Buttons Vol. 1
The Going to Bed Book
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
This Too Shall Pass