By Todd Bernhard on Wed, 09/15/2010
I've written before about the power of a truly interactive multimedia eBook reader, but two iPad apps have really taken the idea and run with it. The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross is a unique children's book with a hauntingly stark design.
The somewhat dark music and sparse color scheme mean it's not for everyone but it has many compelling attributes. Letters 'fall' into place. The sounds and camera angles are random, so in theory the experience can be different each time you read it. The narration is done in a strongly accented Irish voice. And the graphics are a unique vector style that accomplishes a great deal in narrow color range.
My six year old, who isn't into reading as much as my ten year old, sat through much of the book but her attention did wane after about ten minutes. It's not a short picture book and that's okay. We returned to the book later and finished it. There's a nice message and it sparked a conversation. The publisher has more books planned, all with the same Aesop's Fable style of storytelling and Old World settings.
Another book app that really leverages the iPad's feature set is Bram Stoker's Dracula for the iPad. This app is not yet available but it looks fantastic. You can see a preview at www.ipaddracula.com.
Hardly a children's book, although it may appeal to the teens and tweens of the Twilight set, Dracula offers the interactivity of a game with the classic story from Bram Stoker. I can't wait to get my hands on this app and show it to everyone who 'pooh pooh's the iPad. I'm looking at you, Amazon's Jeff Bezos. Try that with your Kindle!