From a cute plush toy to well illustrated physical and digital books, Mark Lubratt has started a brand.  Read it yourself or let it read to you.

As a father of three small children, 8 and 5-year-old boys and 2-year-old girl, I am constantly looking for ways to get them to learn and read.  This is not so difficult with my 8-year-old  (second-grade student) as he is reading fourth and fifth-grade books.  A child after my own heart, he is self-motivated, loves science and self-learns.  My five-year-old is a little less interested in school.  He loves to watch videos, to play interactive games (ABC mouse) and to have interactive readers.  When I was little I had a Teddy Ruxpin.  I have not found much that will maintain the attention of my children for long.  Each boy has their own iPad Mini, and their own age appropriate educational apps.  I have come across Zoonicorn, which may be an interesting option for some of you.

I received Ene, the green Zoonicorn and a book titled “Buffy Meets the Zoonicorns,” by Mark Lubratt.  The book tells the story of Buffy, the bison, and her dream with the Zoonicorns: Valeo, Aliel, Promithea and Ene.  To go along with the stories, there are 4 plush Zoonicorns that stand at 6.5 inches tall and 3.5 inches wide and weighs 3,2 ounces.  I have been given the green Zoonicorn Ene.  Each of the animals has its own backstory and its own personality.  Ene is listed as the youngest of the Zoonicorns.  With a mischievous, shy, yet hugely caring heart, Ene is an amazing friend to have and to hold.

The plush Zoonicorn and book are fun and my 8-year-old read the book quickly/easily.  Many of the words are too big for my 5-year-old, yet we work on vocabulary regularly. If you are interested in a more digital solution, you can turn to the iOS App store and type Zoonicorns into the search option. You will notice a few options to choose from.  Valeo’s Adventure is a side-scrolling game similar to Super Mario Brothers but uses a Unicorn to collect stars instead of coins.   Additionally, you can get a few digital books that you can read alone, have read to you or to autoplay.  These books included “The Tag Along,” “To Catch A Fish,” “Friends Through the Storm,” and a few other games: Aliels Hidden Objects Premium Children game and Ene’s Matching game.

The book Buffy Meets the Zoonicorns is not currently available in a digital book.  The stories “The Tag Along” and “Friends Through the Storm” are both available in free and premium versions.  The free version will only allow you to read the story to yourself.  By purchasing the premium version, the story can be read to you and actually have some inflection and personality.  I do not like that each book has a $2.99 pricetag.  Personally, this price is too high for a single children’s audiobook.  I also wish that the words would change color like Karaoke.  You will see the picture and hear the words but there is no good way for the kids to follow the words.  I did like that there was some voice acting, similar to many books on Audible.  The Read To Me option requires you to touch the small arrow to proceed.  Or, you can use the Autoplay and the system will proceed page by page unto the end of the story.

When you open the app, there is a “Sign In” option on the top right.  It will ask you to input your birth date, name, email address, and password.  You will also have to add your child’s name.  Unfortunately, the link was broken.  I added my own information, it would then ask me for my child’s information.  Despite trying this multiple times, this system did not work.  I tried this with both Zoonicorn The Tag Along app and in Friends Through the Storm App.  I continued to get an “Error processing your request” message.

My 2-year-old liked the Zoonicorn plush toy and my 5 and 8-year-olds liked the physical copy of the book.  Without any visible action, animation, word illumination, the app seemed a little basic for them.  We all had fun with the Valeo’s Adventure app and would recommend that you get the free game from the iOS store.  I do not regret buying “The Tag Along,” I just wish that it did more.

DOWNLOAD – The Tag Along – iOS – FREE

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