This week we take a look at new apps from publishers. There's a varied range, from originals to spin-offs of classic children's books, and subjects cover science, cheese, and more.

Title: The Little Engine That Could

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group/Smashing Ideas

Available: December 22

Price: $6.99

Background: Penguin’s classic version of The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, published since 1930, has sold more than 10 million copies in the English language.

Interactive features: Sound effects; moveable objects; can be set to either “follow along” or “read-aloud” mode.

Title: The Monster at the End of This Book

Publisher: Callaway Digital Arts/Sesame Street

Available: December 22

Price: $0.99

Background: First published in 1971 and celebrating its 40th anniversary in print in 2011, The Monster at the End of This Book, written by Jon Stone and illustrated by Mike Smollin, has sold more than three million copies, making it the bestselling trade book in Sesame Street’s history.

Interactive features: Animation responds to a child’s touch; narration by Grover; word highlighting.

Title: The Real Life Adventures of Mabel & Lulu

Publisher: Apphaus Design Inc.

Available: December 22

Price: iPad: $2.99; iPhone: $0.99

Background: The app is an original children’s interactive digital picture book series featuring dogs Mabel and Lulu.

Interactive features: Touch-based animations; “Read to Me” or “Read to Myself” options; original music.

Title: Ultimate Dinopedia: The Most Complete Dinosaur Reference Ever

Publisher: National Geographic Kids/ScrollMotion

Available: December 22

Price: $5.99

Background: Based on National Geographic's award-winning children's book of the same name, which came out in October and was named an Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12 by the National Science Teachers Association and the Children's Book Council.

Interactive features: Pronunciations for more than 700 dinosaurs; videos; interactive family tree lets users jump to their favorite family of dinosaurs.

Title: Peter Rabbit: Buddy Edition

Publisher: Sideways

Available: December 21

Price: $1.99

Background: Beatrix Potter’s The Tales of Peter Rabbit was first released in a trade edition in 1902. It has been translated into 36 languages and has sold 45 million copies.

Interactive features: Sideways’ patent-pending Buddy Reading technology lets two people to remotely read aloud together; some pictures initiate sounds when touched and others can be moved (e.g., kids can help bunnies fill their baskets with berries); and an interactive coloring book includes line drawings from Potter’s first version of the book.

Title: Cheese Plate

Publisher: Chronicle

Available: December 20

Price: $4.99

Background: The app is based on two Chronicle books: The Cheese Course and Cheese and Wine, both by Janet Fletcher

Interactive features: More than 150 identification photos; search for cheeses by country, type of milk, country of origin; instructions on buying, tasting, handling, and storing; social media out-messaging with thumbnail photos to e-mail, Facebook, Twitter.

Title: Ready, Set, Spot!

Publisher: Carus Publishing

Available: December 17

Price: $2.99

Background: Carus, owner of the Cricket Magazine Group and Cobblestone Publishing, did not base the app on a specific book.

Interactive features: Kids ages 3 and up learn to recognize the pattern in a group of pictures and build a three-card set before time runs out. There is an animated, step-by-step tutorial and three difficulty levels.

Title: Vocabulary Central

Publisher: Pearson

Available: December 9

Price: $2.99 in individualized editions for grades 6-12

Background: Pearson publishes education materials for preK through college. It is in the process of rolling out apps for the K-12 age range on grammar, literacy, science, and humanities.

Interactive features: Each flashcard gives the word’s explanation, a model sentence, synonyms and antonyms, word families, and background information, all with accompanying audio. Students can earn points through the quiz mode. Videos with scrolling lyrics provide musical and contextual clues to help students learn vocabulary words.

Title: PopOut! The Night Before Christmas

Publisher: Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

Available: December 2

Price: $4.99 (introductory price: $1.99)

Background: Clement C. Moore’s Christmas classic has been published countless times; among the versions available are a picture book illustrated by Mary Engelbreit (HarperCollins), a Golden Book, and a paper-cut edition from Candlewick.

Interactive features: Touch and drag objects to make them “spring” to life or tilt to make them slide; “Read to Me” feature highlights words; hear individual words spoken with the tap of a finger; 50 pages of text and illustrations with page turning interactions; a piano version of “O Christmas Tree” plays in the background.

Titles: A Christmas Carol and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Publisher: Helium Creative

Available: Christmas Carol: November; Night Before Christmas: December 11

Price: Christmas Carol: $4.99 now; $8.99 after January 2; Night Before Christmas: $3.99

Background: Little, Brown just released author and artist Chuck Fischer’s pop-up version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Interactive features: Full-page animations, interactive illustrations, some pages with sound effects, and professional voice-over. Actor Victor Garber narrates ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Title: Spaghetti Day


Available: iPad: November 11; iPod: November 6

Price: iPad: $3.99; iPod: $1.99

Background: Scholastic published Wednesday Is Spaghetti Day by Maryann Cocca-Leffler in 1990 and it sold more than 250,000 copies. It is now out of print but Cocca-Leffler, who regained the rights in 2009, hired a developer to create the app.

Interactive features: “Read to Me” audio with music; when a child touches the cat it meows; words light up as they are being read.

Title: Teddy’s Day

Publisher: Minedition/Auryn

Available: November

Price: Free now; $3.99 starting January 3

Background: What Does My Teddy Bear Do All Day?, written by Bruno Hachler and illustrated by Birte Muller, came out in 2004 from Minedition.

Interactive features: A color drawing tablet, a mini puzzle, and a splatter paint page where children can uncover secret images.

To be included in this listing, please send us the app title, the book or other source for the app (if there is one -- original apps are fine, too), when it was released, price, background of the book (including such info as copies in print, when it was released, awards, and brief plot summary), and the interactive elements of the app. We also need the promo codes. Send all apps to Jim Milliot, and send news of children’s apps to Diane Roback as well.