I had to write this Vooks review for parents just like me who may be wondering if Vooks is any good.
After checking out the animated book streaming service for kids for the past two weeks, I’m in a position to tell you if this is something that will help your kids get into reading more.
With all the free time my seven year old son has since the pandemic started, he’d rather watch Ryan’s Toy Reviews on YouTube or play Minecraft on his tablet than read a book.
I’m worried that he might drop back in school and Vooks looked like something that could keep him entertained on his tablet while giving him practice at reading.
So I got the 30 day trial* and installed it on his tablet, my smartphone and on our Roku TV.
In this Vooks review, I’ll tell you what I think about the service, how it works and if I recommend it.
*Vooks has since ditched the long 30 day trial and replaced it with a 7 day trial.
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What Is Vooks All About?
Vooks is like Netflix.
But for children’s books. Regular children’s books you can find in a bookstore or library bought to life through animation, read aloud and accessible via a streaming service.
The target age for these children’s books is two to eight years old.
The books feature the same illustrations as the original books but animated by Vooks’ animation team or partners.
And when it comes to devices, you can access Vooks on a wide variety of platforms including:
Parents can subscribe to Vooks for either a monthly or annual subscription fee starting with a 7 day free trial to try the service.
Part of the appeal of Vooks is that the book streaming service is completely ad free and kid-safe, a very good alternative to YouTube and other apps that kids with their own devices end up using for entertainment.
I Took the 30 Day Trial – My Vooks Review
At the time of writing this review, I currently have 7 days left in my Vooks 30 day free trial and my son is very excited about Vooks every night at bedtime.
He accesses Vooks on the TV sometimes to stream some of his favorite books. The ones I’ve seen him watch multiple times include:
I’ve already planned on continuing the subscription because he enjoys the books so much. He is even asking about getting some of the “real” books because Vooks shows the print book at the end of each video along with the credits.
For myself, I am glad to see his renewed interest in books and reading (even though the voice-over is doing the reading). He has had more bedtime stories in the last month alone than anytime before which is great.
The Vooks Service – How Many Books?
I’m not sure how many books Vooks has but it seems like hundreds. I did a search online and found one source saying there were 90 books.
Vooks is constantly adding books to their streaming library. I did a quick count of the rows in the resources section and it appears that Vooks has at least 118 books at the time of this writing (May 2021).
What is great though is that it doesn’t really matter. 118 books is a lot of books for any child to have access to. Even if they went through all the books, they would have their favorites which they’ll read over and over again.
How Much Does Vooks Cost?
It may not be a free app like YouTube but Vooks is very affordable as either a monthly or annual subscription.
The monthly cost of Vooks is $4.99 while if you opt for annual, it would cost $49.99. This is significantly less than I pay for Netflix and it’s way less than if I were to buy story books for my son every month.
I found the cost of the service to be satisfactory and I would easily pay the $50/year for my child to have access to this.
If you decide to pay monthly, I noticed that there was a setting in the billing section that would allow you to pause the service so this might come in handy if there was a need to do so. I billing turns back on when you log back in.
How is the Video Quality of Vooks?
The video quality of Vooks books is amazing. The stories stream in full HD and the animations are very entertaining and engaging.
In the clip below, you’ll see an example of one of the books on Vooks being read.
The animation work is very well done because they keep the illustrations from the print book and just bring everything to life with quality voice overs and background music. They also follow the text on the pages so your child could read along.
It is all beautifully done and kids will definitely enjoy this type of storytelling.
Best Vooks Features
There are a couple of Vooks features that I love and find worthwhile of mention.
Although books are arranged according to categories such as New Releases, Popular, Be Kind, Preschool and Elementary ages, Stories with animals and so on, kids might want to easily find a book they like.
The favorites tab allows them to do this. Each book has a heart icon which when you press it puts the books into favorites.
This feature varies by platform. On the Roku channel, you put it on a list and can find your favorites in your My List section.
If you have multiple kids, you might want to get them each a separate profile.
Profiles are easy to create and you can customize it with a profile avatar. The advantage is that they can have different favorites, their continue watching section would be their own and so on.
The billing settings is password protected so you never have to worry about your child exploring this setting and doing something you don’t want.
3. Lesson Plans
Vooks is also a great resource for teachers and parents who want to go further and make the service more valuable than just a storybook library.
The “Resources” section contains printable coloring pages for special occasions and holidays as well as lesson plans for each book in the Vooks library.
These lesson plans are very valuable and allow you to get more out of each book. They include book summaries, discussion points, activity ideas, vocabulary cards and more.
These plans can help children get a better understanding of the themes in the books and help them to enjoy the story even more.
The “Pause & Ponder” section of the lesson plan is my favorite. The parent or teacher can pause the story at indicated timings and ask the questions on the sheet to discuss the story with the child making the story interactive.
So teachers and parents can get real value from Vooks, not just kids, as the lesson plans present a teaching aid you can use to get more out of the books.
I couldn’t find too many faults with Vooks except for the fact that I’ve used the search feature and unless you’re just using it to search for a book you already know is available on Vooks, it’s pretty much useless.
This could be because they don’t have a large enough library as yet. Searching for a children’s book I know, to see if it’s on Vooks, returns the error “Sorry! We couldn’t find what you were searching for.”
Maybe this could be improved by showing books that partially match the search. I tried searching “Goodnight Moon” but got a couple of results that matched “goodnight” before adding the “m”. Something other than a blank page would have been way better until they could add the title.
What Other’s Are Saying About Vooks
My Vooks review is just about finished. In this section, I just wanted to include some of what other bigger publications have said about Vooks whether good or bad.
Christy Matte of CommonSenseMedia concludes that:
“Kids who are not quite ready to read alone but are eager for a lot of listening will enjoy this collection of books.”
“…in those moments when parents can’t sit down and read alongside their kids, they’ll appreciate Vooks and its quality content.”
On TrustPilot, a website where people can submit reviews, 95% of 400 users rated Vooks either excellent or great and generally echoed what I’ve written here. Some users reportedly had bad experiences with unsubscribing or playing the videos. I have not experienced any of these problems. Vooks responded to all the negative reviews.
One user said about the service:
“Vooks is amazing! My daughter use to watch YouTube constantly and Vooks gives her something calmer and better to watch. I can’t recommend this enough to parents of toddlers. I would love to read to my daughter everyday, but knowing that she is being read to really helps when I can’t do it myself.“
I couldn’t find much negative feedback about Vooks and the other reviews basically said just about the same thing I said about the service.
Vooks Alternatives? – Are There Any?
There aren’t many alternatives to Vooks that I could find.
Epic! is an app and website that provides kids books and videos and this seems like the closest competitor to Vooks. I haven’t checked it out as yet but it claims to have over much more content for $10/month on their Epic! Unlimited plan.
Another alternative is searching on YouTube for animated or read-aloud storybooks but that is just taking you back to YouTube where you will have to be the one in control of the sessions instead of the child.
Having a service where your child can safely access the content is something you need and Vooks provides just that.
Vooks is a great service that can benefit kids, parents and even teachers alike by providing a safe, high quality service for young readers.
The service is affordable and free from ads providing a good alternative to YouTube and other apps.
To get started with Vooks, they’re offering a 7 day free trial which you can take before committing to either a monthly or yearly subscription.
Check out how to get started with the free trial where I show how to sign up on the web or on your Android device and how to cancel billing so you’re not auto-charged.