Books, site and app reviews from the Columbus Parent staff


"PUFFIN PETER" by Petr Horacek

A beautifully illustrated and sweet read-aloud about Peter and Paul, who are best puffin pals. One day a big storm hits and Peter gets washed out to sea. A friendly whale offers to help Peter get reunited with his friend. As they search, they meet many different species of birds, but none are Paul! Will Peter get back home-and back to his pal? FOR AGES 2 TO 6


From the creator of the American Pickers show on the History Channel, this book highlights the fun that kids and families can have while "picking." With this book in hand, you'll be ready to embrace your inner treasure hunter and get out there! You'll find tips on picking, help with uncovering the history behind the items you find, as well as ideas on how to deck out your bedroom with your found treasures. Whether or not you find something valuable, you'll have fun and learn something in the hunt. FOR AGES 6 TO 13

"HIDE AND SEEK" by Kate Messner

Jose, Anna and Henry are members of a secret society whose mission is to protect the world's most important artifacts. In their previous adventure, Capture the Flag, the trio was in Washington, D.C. to solve a mystery involving an artifact stolen from the Smithsonian. In this book, you won't want to miss their Indiana Jones-style adventure in the rainforests of Costa Rica! FOR AGES 8 TO 14

"PULSE" by Patrick Carman

The year is 2051. The United States has been divided up into two gigantic states, and civil war is imminent. Faith Daniels is a pretty typical teenager until she realizes that she possesses a "pulse" - an ability to move objects with her mind. Now she needs to decide whether to join forces with her mysterious classmate Dylan in order to save the world. Check out to watch the book trailer and read more about this new series. FOR TEENS

-Katie Leonard, Information Services Specialist, Main Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library



This site is FILLED with fun: Printable games and activities, videos, online games, a gallery of original sketches, character bios, fun facts and so much more. With lots of animation and detail, this interactive site leads you through Whoville and along Mulberry Street, linking you to games and activities that correspond to your favorite Seuss characters. "Oh, the places you'll go!" Parents and educators will also find a helpful section of resources.

-Katie Leonard



Take a photo of your surroundings and let the travel app Wikitude, from Wikitude GmbH, tell you what you aren't seeing. First, choose a category, from accommodations to restaurants, cafes or even events. Then you have the choice of either a listing of nearby places, a map or a camera. The camera lets you take a photo of your surroundings and, with augmented reality technology, the app will gather info about that location and give you options on where to go next. The blog Augmented Planet gave it the "Best Augmented Reality Browser" award from 2009 to 2012. The best part(s)? It's free and it's packed with valuable information, linking to websites and Yelp reviews - a great feature if you're in a new place. Use it on your next family vacation to get the most out of the place you're exploring. Wikitude is for iPhone and iPad.


Be your own movie producer with this fun and free app from Bad Robot Interactive. First, choose a special effect, like a car smash, a missile attack or an avalanche. Then use your iPhone or iPad to record a quick video of an object. Give it a minute to load, then watch that object become the center of an action movie. The app comes with five free scenes, but you can always buy more, like a laser blaster, an airstrike or a tornado. You can, of course, share these videos on Facebook or email them to your friends. They also have a Call of Duty: Black Ops II version, for the gamer in your life. Apple deemed this the App of the Year for 2012.

-Taylor Rogers