While Ladybug's Bookshelf is actually a children's book app store within an app, the charming free book that comes with it works well both as a teaching app and a bonding app.
On one hand, parents can use the app's free, brightly colored ebook to share a story with their children after a long day. Meanwhile, thanks to a tiered setup, young readers can work at becoming better readers by running through the simple story themselves.
Although users have the option of adding additional stories for a few extra dollars, the app's free book, "Three O'clock on the Farm" has more than enough features to keep kids busy for a while.
In fact, it's the structure of the free ebook that makes this app as clever as it is. Instead of just providing a book to thumb through, Ladybug's Bookshelf gives users two options to read "Three O'clock on the Farm."
The first lets the app read the book aloud itself. Although a child handles the narration, it does a serviceable job telling the simple story, which is heavy on sound effects. So heavy, in fact, that a rather neat feature lets users tap the animals on the screen to recreate the sound that is written on the page. Dogs bark and roasters crow all at the tap of a finger.
The second option puts the story back into the user's hands. While the sound effects are still there if you tap on the screen, the story isn't read aloud. This would be a perfect opportunity for children to practice reading the story they just had told to them, and it's the possibility for this teaching moment that moves this book from a simple ebook to an education app.
There's even a memorization game where players must repeat the pattern of animal sounds as it gets more complex, like an auditory version of the classic Simon color game.
These features combined with the added bonus of additional books for only few dollars extra, help make Ladybug's Bookshelf a top-notch app for the young reader in your home. Just beware, the app takes up more than 300 mb, so it'll take a few minutes to download and install.