There are so many apps that cater to toddlers but I haven't found one that captured my daughter's attention quite like "Elmo's Big Birthday Bash! — A Step Into Reading," a joint effort from Sesame Workshop and Random House Children's Books.
While this iPad app is geared more toward preschoolers, my 15-month-old was completely engaged. She loves books — even chooses them over her toys at times — so this interactive story was perfect for her. There are three different ways to read: record your voice, read-along or auto-play (which is narrated by Bob McGrath, "Bob," from "Sesame Street"). I chose to record my voice so it's like I'm still reading to her even when I'm working.
The story itself is great and features kids' favorite characters like Elmo, Cookie Monster and Big Bird, but there are other aspects that we loved. You can simply tap on any word to hear it's definition. There are also fun, interactive elements on the page, for example, tap the toaster and a piece of bread flies up or press the crayons and Elmo's drawing changes.
We skipped the hands-on games which help kids learn upper and lowercase letters, letter sounds and matching words since my daughter is too young. I figured this is something we can tackle when she's a little older. For now, we just enjoyed the story.
The iPad app is available for $3.99 on iTunes.com.