If you’re a parent, were at one time a child, or have lived anywhere that wasn’t under a rock, then there’s a very good chance you’ve probably heard the names Dr. Seuss, Sandra Boynton, Mercer Mayer, or Mike Berenstain.
For those of you who didn’t meet any of the criteria mentioned in the previous paragraph, those people are arguably some of the most popular children’s book authors since, well, as long I can remember.
Growing up, I loved the Berenstain Bears, Little Critters, and just about every Dr. Seuss adventure. Now that I’ve become a father, Sandra Boynton’s work has become a staple in our house, too.
For much of my son’s young life so far, he’s loved books. When people asked what to get him for his first birthday, I’d always respond with “books.” As a guy who studied English in college and loves telling stories, this made me very happy.
Now that he’s a little older – and a LOT more mobile – he’s constantly on the move: running, climbing, exploring, and just about anything else he can do to exhaust his parents. He doesn’t sit to read like he used to and it’s difficult to get through a book in a single sitting.
The other day I flipped on my Amazon Kindle Fire and on my home screen I noticed that the Boynton book “Moo, Baa, La La La!” was labeled as free, previously listed at $3.99. We have this book in physical form, which comes as a board book, and it used to be one of my son’s favorites. So, naturally, I downloaded it.
What I discovered was that the author turned her book into an interactive app for kids to experience her story in a whole new way.
On the title screen, you’re presented with the option to have the book narrated to your child, or the child can read it themselves. As you navigate each page of the book, the kids can click on each word to have it read back to them (a great way to help them learn the word) and they can also click on all the images to make them do different things.
For example, in “Moo, Baa, La La La!” the first page shows a cow and the words “A cow says Moo.” If your child clicks on the cow, it will move around and actually moo. It’s simple, but brings the book to life in a way that isn’t possible in a physical book.
What’s even more awesome is that I was able to sit down with my son and read the book to him, in its entirety, and he had a blast clicking on the different animals to see what they did.
Now that I had a way for him to sit down and read with me again, I was interested to see what other books might be available for free and I was NOT disappointed by the selection.
The book apps are available through the Amazon Underground and cost absolutely nothing for you to use.
Here’s a list of what books I found:
- Blue Hat, Green Hat – Sandra Boynton
- But Not the Hippopotamus – Sandra Boynton
- Moo, Baa, La La La! – Sandra Boynton
- The Going to Bed Book – Sandra Boynton
- Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown
- Short Story Collection – Dr. Seuss
- Beginner Book Collection #1 – Dr. Seuss
- Beginner Book Collection #2 – Dr. Seuss
- Little Critter Collection 1 – Mercer Mayer
- Little Critter Collection 2 – Mercer Mayer
- Let’s Go to Bed – Mercer Mayer
- I was So Mad – Mercer Mayer
- Just Helping my Dad – Mercer Mayer
- All by Myself – Mercer Mayer
- Just a Little Music – Mercer Mayer
- The Berenstain Bears Collection #1 – Stan, Jan, and Mike Berenstain
- The Berenstain Bears and Trouble with Chores – Stan, Jan, and Mike Berenstain
- The Berenstain Bears Hug and Make Up – Stan, Jan, and Mike Berenstain
- The Berenstain Bears’ Bedtime Battle – Stan and Jan Berenstain
Amazon Underground has a lot more than just children’s books, too. If you’re interested in free apps or games, you can download the app to your phone or tablet and get started right away!