App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Vooks App Poster Image
Sweet, animated books for subscription; needs parent gate.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can practice reading along, while the animations may help build comprehension.

Ease of Play
Violence & Scariness

Sensitive little ones might find some stories scary, such as someone sneaking into a girl's room to steal something or a character falling from a plane and being hurt and scared. 

Sexy Stuff

There is no parent gate on the subscription link, but it doesn't lead to the app store.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know the Vooks is a collection of children's books turned into videos with narration and some animation. The collection is aimed entirely at young kids, but just like any books, there may be content (angry adults, perilous situations, injuries, etc.) that sensitive kids find troubling. While the app itself is free, it requires a subscription. There's a one-week free trial and then the subscription is $4.99/month or $49.99/year. With no parent gates, parents will want to keep an eye on little ones who may wander into the settings or accidentally share out their reading lists with friends and family. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

VOOKS is a curated digital library of animated books for young kids. Each story is read aloud and animated, allowing kids to read along as they watch. Kids can browse and search, saving their favorites to an online playlist or downloading them for offline watching. Some of the books are digital versions of those you might find on your own bookshelf. Others seem to be made specifically for digital use. 

Is it any good?

Kids who are not quite ready to read alone but are eager for a lot of listening will enjoy this collection of books. While Vooks can't replace the experience of reading with an adult who can engage with them over the content, it's a nice quiet-time activity for kids who just can't get enough of reading. Other kids who are used to more interactive device experiences may be bored by the slow, deliberate pace of the narration and the lack of interactivity, though research shows less distraction makes for better reading experiences. The collection, which is constantly evolving, seems small for the subscription fee, but that may change quickly over time. There's also no parent gate on the settings page, where kids can change features such as auto-play but also link out to the subscription management webpage. That aside, in those moments when parents can't sit down and read alongside their kids, they'll appreciate Vooks and its quality content.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about using imagination while reading in apps like Vooks or paper books . Can you make up a story of your own? Draw some pictures to go with your story. 

  • How do you like this app in comparison with other apps you could play? As you balance your time on- and offscreen, would this be an app you'd choose to use? Why or why not?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: reading, reading comprehension, storytelling
  • Skills: Emotional Development: empathy, labeling feelings
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (one-week trial then $4.99/month; $49.99/year)
  • Release date: November 14, 2018
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 60.40 MB
  • Publisher: Vooks LLC
  • Version: 4.431
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 10.0 or later; Android 4.3 and up
  • Last updated: March 15, 2019

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