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.

Thursday 22 August 2013

Picture Book Apps and Mud Monsters

I am delighted to tell you that this week my new picture book app, "The Mud Monster", published by Tizio Publishing BV, has come out in iTunes

I'm really proud of this new app and the first reviews that have come in have made me very happy:

 "I just love your books, they really touch my heart." and 
"Wow - what a beautiful app. - Chantal's artwork and stories are so lovely." and 
"I just don’t know what to say, other than, they have done it again.  The Mud Monsters is beautiful.  I love this complete package, including the narration, illustrations and the music."

For the first full review you can click here.

As always it was great fun working with the wizards at Tizio. They take my picture books and with their magic make them come alive. It is such a pleasure to see every page become more fun every time I receive test versions. And now with the full app ready, I am as pleased as punch.

The Mud Monster is a circular story, about 3 animal friends who go on a little fishing expedition after their daily bath. They fish up a giant shell and are curious what is inside, so they rap, tap and knock on the shell. They pull it open and then....! Well, for that you need to read the story yourself. 
And to make that easier, I have a few promo-codes to give away. If you would like a chance to win a promo code for a free Mud Monster Picture Book App, just leave a comment on this blog before Tuesday the 27th of August 2013. I will then put all the names in a hat and draw 3 winners that I will notify through this blog on the same day.

For more information about "The Mud Monster" click here.

Looking forward to seeing your comments and in the mean time... Keep clean!