Tumble Book Library Reference Database Review

Providing a clean and comprehensive search interface to over 1,100 eBook and talking book titles, Tumble Book Library is a mainstay in the booming market for distance learning and online reading platforms.

Library of books tumbling

School level M to 6

Cost $799 per school per year for unlimited access by any number of users, on school or off campus. Multi-school and district discounts are available.

Contents Providing a clean and comprehensive search interface to over 1,100 eBook and talking book titles, Tumble Book Library is a mainstay in the booming market for distance learning and online reading platforms.

On the homepage, below a banner and navigation bars, a shuffle feature highlights various titles, such as Graphic Novel of the Day or Storybook of the Day. Below are a range of themed menus of titles, as might appear in a streaming video service, indexing new books, quick reads, celebrating black identity and many other topics.

Titles are offered in a variety of formats, including Story Book, Read Along, and Ebook. When you click on a cover image, an accompanying reading opens in a new tab with an index page containing a substantial abstract, author and publisher names, and some basic bibliographic information, such as as the number of words and the time required for a read aloud, as well as the level of reading by year and Lexile. Copyright dates are not included.

Books open in an in-browser reader. A toolbar at the bottom lets you adjust font and text size and color, background color, add a bookmark, and take lasting notes. A highlighter follows the rhythm of reading aloud. Pages can be advanced without voice accompaniment. Recordings are not downloadable.

An ebook, usually text without illustrations, appears in the same browser frame as an accompanied reading, but without the read-aloud functionality or highlighting.

When a storybook opens, an index page appears in a new tab. A menu is provided on the side of the index page to open a video or to add it to a favorites list for later viewing or to a reading list that allows continuous reading of multiple books. Additional commands provide access to book-specific quizzes or a book report template that guides students through a series of simple, guiding questions.

In a viewing tab, using panning effects and simple animations of certain components of the illustrations, as well as reading aloud, the book is transformed into a video-like presentation. Story text appears in sidebar boxes, with words highlighted as the text is read.

For example, in Oscar lives next doorBonnie Farmer’s 2015 fictional account of the Montreal childhood of jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, with illustrations by Marie Lafrance, the young Oscar’s head and hands bob up and down on the piano while word animations proclaim the “root-a-toot toot” of the accompanying horns.

Videos can be erased and paused. Volume and playback speed are adjustable. Full screen mode is an option.

In addition to these formats, graphic novels and non-fiction books are indexed on separate tabs. Graphic novels usually scroll continuously, rather than clicking page by page.

Kate DiCamillo and actor John Lithgow have their own search categories and there are winners and links to children’s TV programs, such as Pebble. A menu of “New Books” includes older titles, such as Anna at the art museumby Gail Herbert and Hazel Hutchins, from 2018, and Bloomby Doreen Cronin, which was published in 2016.

The database also includes a number of short, engaging, and often original instructional videos on animals and other life science topics. They are indexed on their own tab. A few language learning books in French and Spanish are available, again, on a separate tab.

Some curated playlists are available, organized by duration, from under ten minutes to over forty, or by category like Early Readers or Bilingual.

Resources for students and teachers A “TumbleSearch” button opens a new page with drop-down lists for searching by title, author, language, and genre, as well as “TumbleTime” (how long it will take to read), and Accelerated Reader and Lexile (100-990) levels.

On the main navigation bar is a link for “Common Core” which provides reading standards for K–5. For each standard, a link is provided to a page listing the Tumble Books texts associated with that standard.

Unlike many e-book subscriptions, according to the publisher’s promotional materials, “books are always available, for everyone in your institution.” Books open with unique URLs, making them suitable for assigning to students or publishing to a learning management system.

A green “Tumble Admin” button with a gear icon opens a new page with access to reports, including counting book views, quizzes, and lesson plans, sorted by month and year. There’s also a page of downloadable icons and buttons for use in the promotion, and a report of the total number of assets categorized by genre (1476 titles in the view version, including videos, puzzles, and games).

A drop-down selector at the top of the index page displays the site in English, with Flash or non-Flash animations, or in French or Spanish, indexing only the texts available in these languages.

Verdict Competitively priced and offering an abundance of information and helpful practical support for teachers and librarians, Tumble Book Library is recommended as a classroom teaching or digital library tool, especially for those working with emerging readers. .


Bob Hassett, Luther Jackson MS, Falls Church, Virginia