Time to Swipe the Page: More iPad Picture Books
Our recent roundup of interactive picture-book apps for the iPad focused on fancied-up classics like "Alice in Wonderland" and "Green Eggs and Ham." But there's plenty of new material out there in the world of finger-swipe page-turning. Here, we take a look at five popular non-classics that got the iPad treatment.
"The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross" by Jacqueline Rogers & Matthew Talbot-Kelly (Moving Tales, $4.99)
Here's a folktale with an ancient feel presented in the most groundbreaking way possible. This story of an old hermit woman who leaves her desert home in search of a dream feels utterly magical -- in the story itself; in the sage-like British-accented narration by the wonderful Mark Doherty; in the haunting musical score; and most of all, in the dynamic three-dimensional, fully-animated illustrations. Every "page" of this book looks like a clip from an Oscar-winning animated short. It's truly stunning.
"Bartleby's Book of Buttons Vol. 1: The Far Away Island" (Octopus Kite, $2.99)
Lift-the-flap books have just evolved. This is the story of a strange, little mustachioed man (he could be the less-wealthy cousin of Monopoly's Uncle Pennybags) who collects buttons -- the kind you press, not the kind you use to fasten clothes. As he sets off on a trip to a mysterious island, readers guide him along the way, pressing the many, many buttons that line every page of this virtual book. Buttons will get Bartleby dressed, turn stoplights green, launch ships, and even help him escape from a volcano. There's no voiceover, so pre-readers will need some assistance, but the play factor will resonate with readers of almost any age.
"Icarus Swinebuckle" by Michael Garland (Giant Atom, $1.99)
To paraphrase the old poster from "Superman: The Motion Picture," you will believe a pig can fly. In this endearing tale, a poor shoemaker pig risks eviction, putting aside his paying work to focus on building the wings he believes will allow him to soar through the sky. The thoroughly satisfying ending is not exactly what you'd expect. Kids can either have the book read to them (by the talented Greville Sockett) in a mode that includes some animated scenes, or they can read it themselves in a mode that allows them to tap any word they don't know to hear it read aloud.
"Logan and the Upside-Down Sea" (Iskandar, Inc., $2.99)
Kids can also read along with this is-it-real-or-just-imagination story about a young boy who sets off to a magical land to find his sister who disappears during a game of hide-and-seek. There are a number of cool interactive features throughout (for example, kids can help Logan assemble a hot air balloon). And the app makes nifty use of the iPad's tilt-rotation feature at one critical point in the story. The book/app works best for first graders or younger.
"Violet" by Allison Keeme (My Black Dog Books, $2.99)
No voiceover here, so the misadventures of this young girl who fancies herself a sort of secret mad scientist will need to be enjoyed by kids old enough to read to themselves or kids with parents who are willing to read to them from an iPad. The very original premise -- young Violet, in her guise as Phantom Girl, decides to "time travel" by turning the clock forward an hour and then watching her unwitting family show up too early for everything -- is a funny one, and both the book and its innocently mischievous heroine are quite likable. There are a few point-and-click interactive hot spots on the pages, but nothing too fancy. This is an e-book you want to read for the same reasons you'd read a good-old-fashioned non-digital picture book: Story and art. And fortunately, they're pretty good.
Related: iPad, Read Me a Story
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