Hey, fellow parents. Sick to death of the kids' "Wiggles" CDs? Exhausted the library's "Magic Tree House" collection? Do I have an app for you: Tales2Go provides on-demand access to nearly 900 children's stories. It's my single favorite app of 2010 (so far).
The Tales2Go collection includes works from a variety of audio publishers, including Audio Bookshelf and Recorded Books. A Tales2Go representative told me a couple "major" new publishers will collectively add about 80 more titles to the library in coming weeks.
The app provides countless ways to peruse the catalog, starting with highest rated and most popular playlists. You can also browse by age group, story type, narrators (a few recognizable names, including Catherine O'Hara and Tom Bosley), character and series, and grade level.
The collection includes everything from two-minute fables to six-hour novels, with just about everything in between. I found "American Girl" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" titles for my 10-year-old daughter, and "Encyclopedia Brown" and "Henry and Mudge" for my 7-year-old son. Truly, there's something here for everyone.
The Tales2Go app scores high with its smart, simple interface. While listening to a story, you can create a bookmark (for easily returning to where you left off), add the story to your Favorites list, and apply a rating.
There's even an alarm feature so you (or, presumably, your children) can wake up to Tales2Go, which automatically plays your favorites station.
If you end up using the app in the car, keep in mind that streaming audio requires a decent EDGE, 3G, or Wi-Fi connection--which could be a problem if you're driving in a rural area. I wish it would include a download option.
The app is free and includes a 30-day trial of the Tales2Go service. After that, a one-year subscription will cost you a very reasonable $24.99--about what you'd pay for a couple audiobook CDs. Needless to say, I consider this a killer deal.
If you have preteen-or-younger children, and have a good way to listen to iPhone audio via your car's speakers, I can't recommend Tales2Go highly enough. Check out the demo video: