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Notes from Nugget Island

Where It’s App: Once Upon a Time Edition

Posted 2/4/2013 12:05:00 PM

The iTunes store has no shortage of fairy tale-themed apps and eBooks. A quick search for any of your favorite Hans Christian Andersen or Brothers Grimm stories will turn up hundreds of options for both “free” (quotations marks very intentional)  and paid options. Unfortunately, many of them feature artwork right out of a bad Disney rip-off film. As for the game-play, I never get that far. Of course, pretty art doesn't always equal an engaging app either, so after going on a few fairy tale app journeys, we came back with a few favorites.

Hansel and Gretel: Lost by PB&J Publishing

The beautiful, bright hand-drawn illustrated style of  Chilean artist Alvaro Pantoja Busch is what initially brought this app to my attention. The experience itself measures up to the art, with 21 interactive pages including 60 points of interaction. For my two girls, stuffing the two lost siblings full of witch house candy ...



Where It’s App: Under 2 Edition (Part 1)

Posted 1/17/2013 4:45:00 PM

I’ve seen the look of horror on people’s faces when they see my 20-month-old swiping and poking away on our iPad. I know they are thinking, “Isn’t she too young?” Frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn. At 20 months, I have already seen the payoff in the dozens of apps I have purchased for her. Whether it is her advanced vocabulary, growing knowledge of her ABCs and 123s or basic memory skills, I attribute a good portion of it to the wonderful iPad apps being built by smart and talented developers.

So what are some of these apps that are turning my little girl into a pint-sized prodigy and burgeoning tech wiz? Here is Part 1 of an introduction to our favorite apps for the under-2 set. (Please note: When apps have multiple levels for different age ranges, I will be reviewing the portions of the app relevant ...



Holiday Gifts in Review

Posted 1/9/2013 9:07:00 AM

Chrismukkah is over at our mixed-marriage residence. Please ignore those lingering decorations. It's time to call out just a few of the Santa (and Hanukkah) successes of the 2012 Holiday season.

Disney Apples to Apples

Disney Apples To Apples – Surely, you have played the adult-targeted version of this game at a party or two – possibly under the influence of an adult beverage. “Disney Apples To Apples” down-ages this word association game so the whole family can participate and integrates pictures from almost every Disney property – including Parks, Pixar, Princesses and tween TV. We have been playing this non-stop since Hanukkah and it has become an instant favorite for our 6-year-old.

Star Wars Princess Leia Fashion Set

Star Wars Princess Leia Fashion Set – Most parents of Disney Princess-loving girls have spent much time helping dress the rubber-dressed, Polly Pocket-esque Disney Princess mini-figures. This Disney Parks “exclusive item,” also available on Amazon, gives Princess Leia the Disney “fashion ...



CloudKid's “Negative Nimbus” Getting Rave Reviews

Posted 12/10/2012 3:06:00 PM

It’s the holidays, so you and your kids are likely to have some car travel or down time ahead. How to keep the kids happily occupied? Two words: Negative Nimbus. This new app for iPhone and iPad from the Boston-based, Emmy-nominated studio CloudKid is the perfect diversion for you and your family. The first game for the iOS platform from the folks behind the popular PBS web series “Fizzy’s Lunch Lab,” “Negative Nimbus” delivers the same candy-colored, bold and innovative design and is a bargain at only 99 cents.
Negative Nimbus app
Already awarded “best visual and design” at the Boston Festival of Indie Games, “Negative Nimbus” focuses on a lovable and grouchy rain cloud as he makes his way through the brightly colored Sunnyland. Players ages four and up can tap, swipe and pinch their way through different levels, trying to water flowers while avoiding the quirky characters that populate the sunshiny ...



All Aboard “The Choo Choo Bob Show”

Posted 11/26/2012 2:55:00 PM

In reviewing children’s shows, I often chance upon two types: First, there are the wonderful, niche productions aimed at a specific audience with specific goals. Then, there are the broader, mainstream-aimed shows that are just waiting for their national breakthrough. The Choo Choo Bob Show falls in to the later category.

The Choo Choo Bob Show

Based out of Saint Paul, Minnesota, The Choo Choo Bob Show is a live-action comedy show aimed at children 2-7 that has echoes of Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Captain Kangaroo and Howdy Doody. Choo Choo Bob is set at Bob’s clubhouse and features visits from his wacky human pals (including actors with experience at Comedy Central) and his puppet friend Charlie Rat. Choo Choo Bob keeps it updated for modern audiences with stop-ins from hipster musicians (Ozomatli), humor that will appeal to parents and kids (“Cleaning with Autotune”), and a likable lead host (Sam Heyn) that won’t scare off parents.

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About Matt Siden of Nugget Island

Nugget Island

Matt Siden is the mastermind behind Nugget Island. Matt blogs about all things kid culture, from books and movies to apps and live shows. He's a dad and husband who loves experiencing new things with his own “little nuggets.” For 15 years, he's been writing and researching children’s products and entertainment. As a self-professed pop culture junkie, Matt is already (inadvertently) molding his daughters into ones as well, but under the strict guidelines that any media and products they consume must have quality and authenticity. Whether sharing his thoughts on media and toys or trying to spot a new trend, Matt hopes to make this blog a useful resource for caregivers who want to give their kids the best media available today.

Learn more about Nugget Island at the web site.