Children’s Book-app vs printed book

I heart children’s books.
What can I say, I grew up with a bookcase filled with them and nightly bedtime readings too. Picture books especially capture my heart. They are a beautiful combination of the artwork and the storytelling. And a good picture book-even in a book-app-captivates the adults as easily as it does children.

With a fast changing children’s publishing industry the ebook and book-apps are making a large impact a child’s relationship with a book. Are ebooks too interactive for a child’s own good? It’s a tough question to answer. An ex-Pixar designer, Joyce Williams as created an interactive book-app with Moonbot Studios called: “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore iPad App Trailer from Moonbot Studios on Vimeo.

With his Pixar base the success of the book starts with the storyline and with choices. You can experience this as an interactive book or it can be shown as a stand alone film. There’s even more choice if you choose the path of interactivity. The book is designed to naturally invite the reader to explore the pages and delight in the animation that they can control. There aren’t just bells and whistles for the sake of bells and whistles.  The interactive elements are so merge with the visuals that it might take the reader a few times through to figure out all the options. Or better yet, the reader has the control to turn off all the interactivity and voice over on each page to allow you to read the book in its classic form.

This well produced and written book-app is quite impressive, but not all children need the interactivity to enjoy a book. Check out this amazing video of a 2 year old little girl, reading Hush Little Baby.

The book is quiet and still, so it allows the child to initiate the interactivity. This little girl animates the character’s voices, adds in her own commentary, and sings the song all on her own. With our daily lives filled with moving and loud screens there is something to be valued in the quiet time that a printed book offers.

I don’t think we have to choose between an ebook and a printed book. There is a place in the publishing market and in a child’s life for both book-apps and printed books since each offers a range of learning opportunities.

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