Moonbot Studios, known for publishing some of the best digital books for iOS, has gone outside of the box before with their print and digibook hit The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, turning it into an Academy Award winning short film. Now they are merging print and digital publishing technologies in an innovative new way, with IMAG•N•O•TRON.
You'll need the hardcover book, which costs around $10 and is well worth owning if you have young readers at home. Just hold an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with a camera over the book and amazing things happen. Moonbot promises you’ll “Get swept up in a storm! Transport to another world! Play music! Fly!”
It also been called a “wonder of the ages,” so if you get a chance to check it out, we’d love to know if that’s a fair statement. We think it might be. Moonbot, it seems, can do no wrong in the App Store, and this book in particular is dear to many, both the young and the young at heart.
App publisher Oceanhouse Media has released two new omBooks (Oceanhouse Media digital books) from their popular Dr. Seuss and The Berenstain Bears series. Both classic titles are now available on the App Store.
Horton Hatches the Egg follows Horton the Elephant as he’s persuaded to sit and babysit an egg for lazy Maysie, the egg’s mother. Maysie slips off for a vacation while Horton is laughed at by friends for pretending to be a bird. Horton Hatches the Egg is available for $1.99.
The Berenstain Bears’ BIG Bedtime Book includes six original bedtime stories about the Berenstain Bears including Little Red Grizzly Hood, The Three Billy Goats Gruff Meet the Bogg Brothers, The Three Little Cubs and the Big Bad Pig, The Gingerbread Bear, Goldibear and the Three People, and The Little Red Hen. The Berenstain Bears’ BIG Bedtime Book is available for $4.99.
Kid-lit publisher Oceanhouse Media may not be a household name, but the catalog of children's books they own the rights to are. They include, amongst others, Eileen Christelow's Five Little Monkeys series, the beloved Berenstain Bears and, most notably, the collected works of Dr. Seuss. The universal apps are minimally digitized, focusing on the words, illustrations and learn-to-read features.
Last week they announced a second collection of Seuss titles, five in all, in a single package priced at $11.99. The Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection #2 contains:
Green Eggs and Ham
Dr. Seuss's ABC
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
There's a Wocket in my Pocket!
Hop on Pop
They also released a lesser known title, The Shape of Me and Other Stuff, in which the guru of children's literature waxes nonsensically poetic on “The shape of you the shape of me the shape of everything I see . . . a bug . . . a balloon, a bed, a bike. No shapes are ever quite alike.” The app is currently on sale for $1.99.
For young readers - and their parents - the new collection offers a great savings on classic Seuss titles, and the new release is ideal for pre-readers to enjoy.
First published in 1940 by Dorothy Kunhardt the touch-and-feel board book, Pat the Bunny is a nursery library staple. On April first Random House, publishers of the Pat the Bunny book app, are releasing an update to the beloved classic. It will be free for those who own the app, and a seasonal incentive for parents to get the award-winner for their kids as their parents may have shared the classic print version with them.
Aimed at toddlers through pre-schoolers the universal digibook already features 14 interactive pages with tons to touch and swipe as little ones play hide and seek with the bunny. There is a fun paint mode, and on devices with front facing cameras kids can see their own reflection, like in a book with a tinfoil mirror. The app has everything except the soft patches of fur.
Soon kids will see an Easter themed design and be able to join an Easter egg hunt. Once located, the eggs will yield surprises that should delight the youngest iOS users. The update will be available for a limited time only, so if there is a household with cute and chubby fingers that is without a copy this would be a good time to get it, and if it's already a favorite don't forget to watch for the update on the App Store to enjoy the holiday treat.
Despite not having children of my own, I know all about LazyTown. My cousins were hooked on the show when they were younger. They loved the rather quirky world it offered and its combination of puppetry, animation and real people. They're unfortunately a little too old for it now but I've no doubt they'd have been thrilled by the arrival of the LazyTown BooClips app.
BooClips aims to improve your children's reading skills while also stimulating their imagination. Using a combination of different features such as word for word narration, 3D and even picture in picture sign language intepretation, it's bound to enthral kids. Voiceover recording is also available so that your children can become part of the storyline, no doubt boosting vocabulary skills.
The app is simple to use for all age groups and you can stop or start it wherever you like, it keeps track of where you left it.
It looks to be a great app to get your kids into reading while still feeling as interactive as any game too.
It's available now for the iPad. The BooClips app is a free download with additional books such as Dr Rootenstain and Lazy Town Sportfake available as in-app purchases for $4.99 each. Take a look at the video below to see just what the interface is like.
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John Henry does almost everything right. First off, it's a universal app, so it plays perfectly on both the iPhone and the iPad. Second, it's priced at only $0.99, which is an absolute bargain compared to buying a physical hardback children's book. Third, it's wildly entertaining and provides three distinct options for experiencing its content. This is an excellent app that is sure to delight children as well as their parents.
If you're unfamiliar with the story of John Henry, he's one of the great folk heroes of America's early industrial period. A "Steel-Drivin' Man," John Henry could hammer railroad spikes faster than any man or any machine. The myth of this man who could defeat machines spoke to an America first encountering the possibility of machines replacing workers, and that myth still speaks to us today.
This version of the John Henry story was first published as a book with a cassette read-a-long with Denzel Washington, but developer Ruckus Media has merged several media together to create an app that stands well on its own. You can, of course, choose to read the book in a conventional manner, flipping pages and reading along. Or, you can watch the story's artwork go into motion (in a limited, but still effective way) in a 20 minute animated version narrated by Denzel Washington with wonderful music written and performed by B.B. King. Or, you (or your child) can record your own narration to accompany the images in the story. All are terrific ways to get children interested in the story, and even interact with it at some level.
If you have children, or even if you simply appreciate the value and beauty of a good children's book, this is a no-brainer. John Henry for the iPhone/iPad is a welcome addition to the growing library of apps devoted to translating books to Apple's electronic devices. And even John Henry would appreciate the fact that machines still need a human touch.