The app field is heating up in children’s books, with a critical mass of titles coming to the market. This week we spotlight four releases, from Random House, Ruckus Media, HMH/Oceanside Media, and Greenwillow/Curious Puppy.

Title: Wild About Books for iPad, based on the picture book Wild About Books by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Marc Brown

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books/Smashing Ideas

Available: December 16

Price: $7.99 ($4.99 introductory offer)

Background: Wild About Books is a humorous tale about librarian Molly McGrew, who introduces animals to reading. It was published in 2004 and won the E.B. White Read Aloud Award, and was named an ALA Notable Children’s Book and a Book Sense Book of the Year. It has sold nearly 500,000 copies.

Interactive features: Sixteen animated and interactive scenes where kids can tilt, swipe, and tap.

Title: Andrew Answers

Publisher: Ruckus Media

Available: December 15

Price: $1.99

Background: Children’s author and TV writer Alan Katz (Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs) developed this original app. It is targeted at kids age five to 10 and focuses on building vocabulary and increasing confidence in word choice and use. This is Ruckus’s second original app, following A Present for Milo, released earlier this month, and several Rabbit Ears titles (which were based on existing picture books and were not original).

Interactive features: Tip the iPad or iPhone screen to help Andrew through a maze to the principal’s office; click on his teacher’s apple to take bites out of it; tap on the goldfish bowl for a surprise.

Titles: Tacky the Penguin and Tacky’s Christmas, based on the series that PW called “must reading for any kid or grown-up who refuses to follow the pack.”
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Oceanhouse Media
Available: December 14
Price: $2.99 (introductory offer)
Background: Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger have created seven books about Tacky and his penguin pals, which have sold over one million copies in all formats.
Interactive features: Zooming effects, highlighting words, tappable word/picture associations, professional narration and audio.

Title: Freight Train (and Spanish version: Tran de Carga)

Publisher: Greenwillow Books/Curious Puppy e-imprint

Available: December 8

Price: $2.99

Background: Based on the Caldecott Honor book that sold over a million copies, Freight Train was first published in 1978. Author/illustrator Donald Crews collaborated on the app. The song “Freight Train” was written specifically for the app, and the rest of the music is public domain songs with all-new recordings, also available as songs in the iTunes store.

Interactive features: Tap on trains and the doors open up to reveal different games (such as a sorting game); touch arrows to move to the next train and hear the next song. Make the train whistle, fill it up with water and start it on its way.