Saturday 28 December 2013

Hurrah for the Mud Monster! And some thoughts on picture book apps

In my last blog post I wrote about my latest children's picture book app, "The Mud Monster". To my great delight it was recently listed in Kirkus' best book apps of 2013 ('A story that is as happy as a clam at high tide'). I am tickled pink and still blushing with pride!

what will our 3 friends find in this giant sea shell?

Looking back at The Mud Monster, it makes me think about picture book apps in general. I was recently interviewed for BBC Wiltshire regarding picture book apps and one question that keeps on following me, is whether book apps are good for children and would it give them the same experience as a printed book?

I think there will always be a place for printed picture books. They are beautiful, a real joy and I am an avid collector. They make lovely gifts and are a treasure to have. But I also think there is a valid place for picture book apps. Most of all because it is about the story. Whether this story is on an iPad or other tablet or on paper, does not matter so much. What matters that it is a good story. 

Then there are the illustrations, how do they enhance the story, what delights do they bring? I think the same thing applies there, it does not matter whether they are on a printed page, or whether they are on a tablet, what matters is that they are good, enjoyable illustrations that can be explored by the children and parents together. What is important about a picture book or app is that it engages children and that parents and children can interact with it and enjoy it.

In all my picture book apps (and I think in most book apps) there is the option to switch of the reading voice so that parent can read the story to their children, or so the children can read the stories themselves. The same way they can from a printed book.
Any music and sounds can be switched off (or on) through a touch on the screen. You can go backward and forward or jump around in the story as much as you wish. All the same as in a printed book.

But the nice thing about a picture book app is that you can do more! You can touch the illustrations and things will happen! How exciting is that! You can blow in your tablet to create storms (as in Finn's Paper Hat), you can shake your iPad and a mouse will swing from a tree (as in Fierce Grey Mouse), and you can make plenty of bubbles when 3 animal friends are having a bath in "The Mud Monster". And to help early readers learn reading, there is word highlighting, where the words enlarge and highlight along with the reading voice. Again a function that can be switched off and on as you please.
will you make some more bubbles for our 3 friends?

Last, but not least, there is also the matter of price. Often a picture book app is less than a quarter (or even a tenth) of the price of a printed book. An opportunity to get many, many stories and hours of fun reading or being read to!

our 3 friends from The Mud Monster on their way to buy a book? Or will they find a boat and roam the sea and go fishing instead?

Now of course I am biased in my views, as 3 of my children's picture books have been published by Tizio BV as interactive picture book apps. What do you think about this topic? I'm really curious what your thoughts are around picture books and picture book apps.

1 comment:

  1. What I like about picture book apps os there portability. I'm not going to be carrying a large range of picture books with me to a restaurant but I always carry my phone. So Little Man and I can share a book and discuss it whilst waiting for our food to arrive. Now being a crafty mum I do always carry paper and colouring pencils so we can draw things from the story.
    I also think good picture book apps like Mud monster are much better than the flash bang whizzy games as they help develop their concerntration rather than diminish it.