App Title: TumbleBooks ToGo Munsch 6-Pack

Grade Level: Pre-K – Grade 3


At the heart of early literacy experience is the storybook, which marks the young children’s entrée into literacy around the world. Its powerful role in literacy development is well documented in family literacy and early education. A staple of the bedtime (or nap) routine, the storybook shared between adult and child mediates what Don Holdaway referred to as an emerging literacy set: high expectations of print; models of book language; familiarity with written symbols; print conventions; listening skills; and de-contextualizing abilities (e.g., imaging) (Holdaway, 1979). Substantial research supports the claim that storybook reading prepares children for the learn-to-read process (Bus, 2001).

Roskos, K., & Brueck, J. (2009). The eBook as a Learning Object in an Online World. In A. Bus & S. Neuman (Eds.), Multimedia and Literacy Development (77-88). New York: Routeledge.

TumbleBooks is a popular eBook provider to schools and libraries across the country. Their TumbleBooks Library, an online collection of animated, talking picture books offers over 300 titles for elementary age children to access. Recently, TumbleBooks has launched a mobile arm, TumbleBooks ToGo. From the TumbleBooks website:

TumbleBooks are animated, talking picture books that feature text, narration, animation, and sentence highlighting!  They make reading accessible and fun, and are a great tool for early readers seeking to improve their reading skills. 

TumbleBooks is the leading publisher of online interactive animated picture books for children.

Tumblebooks have been enjoyed by children for over ten years and currently distributed through over 10,000 schools and libraries across North America. TumbleBooks are created from existing picture books from North America’s biggest and best children’s publishers such as Chronicle Books, Charlesbridge Press, Annick Press, Simon and Schuster, and many others.

Robert Munsch is the author of over 50 popular, children’s books including I Have To Go!, Thomas’ Snowsuit and Love You Forever. His stories have delighted children, parents and educators for over 30 years.

In the TumbleBooks ToGo Munsch 6-Pack for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, users are presented with an opportunity to experience 6 classic Munsch titles in one tidy little app. Stories included in this app are: 50 Below Zero, The Fire Station, Wait and See, Pigs, Something Good and Mud Puddle. All the stories in this app are read by the author himself!

Purpose: A

The electronic equivalent of the storybook is the eBook and it is proliferating as a reading source for young children in a media-saturated world. Most major publishing houses, and many major libraries now offer eBook collections for young children. eBooks, like those available in the TumbleBooks ToGo Munsch 6-Pack app offer a completely new reading environment for early reading experiences at a very young age.

Program Functionality: C

The downfall of this app lies within this category. Subscribers to the TumbleBooks Library will be familiar with the TumblePad, which provides basic “player” type features such as PLAY/PAUSE button, FORWARD/BACK buttons, MUTE and an AUTOMATIC/MANUAL mode. When using automatic mode, eBook pages turn by themselves while they are narrated. Manual mode deactivates the narration and allows young readers to turn the pages on their own.

Unfortunately, users of the TumbleBooks ToGo Munsch 6-Pack app will not find these TumblePad features available. Instead, all six storybooks play much like a Quicktime movie would. While PLAY/PAUSE is possible, there is no way to turn the pages. Also, the AUTOMATIC/MANUAL modes and MUTE features are noticeably missing from the app. One prime feature that the app does retain, is the highlighting of the text that is being read. In this case, each sentence read is highlighted. If the full features of TumblePad were incorporated into TumbleBooks mobile apps, I would be willing to consider a higher rating in this category.


Overall Educational Value: B

Reading aloud to children at an early age is important for the development of reading skills. Children with strong reading habits and access to books at home often learn to read at an earlier age, which can lead to more success in school. With the addition of TumbleBooks ToGo into the literacy environment, a new take on a sound pedagogy will provide valuable learning experiences for children both in the classroom and at home.


I recommend this app for personal use and school use at this time. I feel this app would be most appropriate to supplement or enhance classroom instruction. Children will benefit from teacher or adult modeling of use, but most early elementary students should be able to operate independently after their first interaction with the app.

Classroom Use Examples / Ideas:

Reading aloud good books is both a tradition and favorite activity in the classroom. Developing background knowledge, increasing comprehension skills, and fostering critical thinking are all important reasons to incorporate the read aloud strategy in your classroom. Additionally, teachers can model the use of reading strategies that aid in comprehension for their students during a read aloud session.

TumbleBooks ToGo Munsch 6-Pack is the perfect app for teachers to use with students as a follow-up to their traditional read aloud session. I’d recommend reading one of the six titles in a whole or small group setting with your students. Follow-up this read aloud experience with independent re-readings of the corresponding title from the Munsch 6-Pack. Research has shown that independent reading builds fluency, leads to increased vocabulary development and builds background knowledge.

Cost: $5.99

Developer Website: http://www.tumblebookstogo.com/

iTunes Link: Click Here

Be sure to check out our Ning (Online Community) devoted to helping teachers utilize iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad to the their fullest.  Please leave a comment if you agree, disagree, or have other creative uses for this app in the classroom or at home.

Cross-posted at IEAR.org