For parents and grandparents who own a smartphone or tablet, here is a story that can entertain a child simply and effectively for a little while.
The mystery is interactive as the child tries to figure out what's behind the "scary" noises and discovers squeaks, taps and creaks everywhere.
It's also educational as it helps the child realize everything usually has an ordinary, benign explanation behind it as the clock ticks, the water heater hums, the tree branches tap the glass, the door slams and the pipes moan.
There are 28 different hidden sounds in this story. It's fun to try and find them all, and the story is sweet.
The app can be customized, and parental controls can be put in place. The music and volume can be brought up and down. It's available in Spanish as well as English, and the illustrations by Channing Jones are funny.
The language is clean and there isn't any violence. There's nothing to worry about here except you might want to buy more of these to share. It's available for iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, as well as for Android tablets and phones on PC and Macintosh operating systems, from premiobooks.com/sounds-in-the-house.php.
Blackfish produced a number of these stories, and several are free. (Be aware you have to download the free Blackfish app to read the book.)
A 2-year-old found it fascinating, a 5-year-old liked it for a while, and an 8-year-old wanted higher adventure and went on to creating her own story.
Their mother thought $4 for a book was a lot when similar apps are offered for $1 or free.
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years' experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.