Trucks - Byron Barton is a delightful adaptation of the book of the same name, part of a series of books by Byron Barton.
This interactive app boasts bright colors, lots of big trucks and relatively few words.
Published originally as a picture book, titles such as this which used to be favorites of my son are now books that instead of me reading to him, he prefers to show his dolls or animals as he pretends to be a good dad or brother, slowly outgrowing these kinds of stories with the simplest of sentences.
Because of this, I am always intrigued by how engaged my son is with this series of Byron Barton applications, especially Trucks.
I am sure this has a lot to do with the included movements of these large vehicles around the page, especially as my son has the chance to move these trucks himself with the drag of a finger.
Fun, realistic sound effects that demonstrate backing up or driving forward and honking and other industrial noises are included as well, such as the truck vibrating as it idles on the title page of this interactive application - a really nice touch.
We have spend nice amounts of time working with all the moving aspects of Trucks, dragging trucks into tunnels or over bridges as well as moving workers as they perform tasks that are associated with trucks such making deliveries of bread, newspapers or oil to a home with a tanker truck, as well as moving garbage men around the page as they make their rounds or men fixing street lights with the aid of a bucket truck.
I also really enjoy the added dialogue that can be heard associated with these scenes, as readers can overhear workmen mixing and pouring cement, working construction with the aid of a dump truck and loader, or the banter between movers carrying furniture from a moving van.
I do have mixed feelings, however, at the topical nature of the bread man making a delivery to “Miss Daisy” as to me this makes me think of Driving Miss Daisy in a way that is too topical and out of place where no other person has a specific name used - an issue that goes over the head of my son as it would other children.
I also have noticed that the only workers portrayed are men, with the only female character to be seen is a woman buying ice cream along with a dog and her male companion towards the end of this book.
This app is a faithful adaptation of the book published in 1986 which also did not have any female workers. Yet with the ability to move these figures around the page - a favorite detail for my son and me - it may be nice to modernize this simple book with female characters as workers as well, even if it’s hearing female voices among the men found among these pages. This would allow children to use their imagination about female workers who may be in the truck or working underground so that the classic illustrations would not be altered.
Having said this, I am impressed by my son’s enjoyment of this application, as my boy has also shown interest in tapping objects in the pages to see them labeled with both narration and text - standard elements for Oceanhouse Media apps that often go unused when listening to longer, more involved stories.
I have been uniformly impressed with the apps based on the works of Byron Barton. The colors found throughout are vibrant, and the illustrations are stylized with the subtle vintage appeal adults will appreciate.
The narration, which can be silenced, is upbeat, clear and engaging. One also has the ability to read book by oneself, possibly as a first reader.
As Byron Barton is a prolific author and illustrator, I do hope to see more of these titles turned into applications in the future.