Children's books as iPad apps: Tablet versions of kids' books, reviewed....

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Tablet apps for kids make what once were books into something interactive, mind-bending--and not necessarily better...

Missed this itneresting Slate piece earlier in the month...

The iPad version is animated and interactive. Grover keeps begging us not to turn the page in his real whiny-gravelly voice. To help Elmo get to the end, you've got to swipe away the paper clips, glue, and alphabet blocks that Grover puts up to block each page. At first, this is delightful; when I offered the app to my 19-month-old son Khalil, he was instantly smitten. But as I watched him play with Another Monster, I began to wonder what was really going on. When a young reader engages with the Another Monster app, what is he doing? Is he reading a book? Playing a video game? Watching TV? It's hard to say. Grover and Elmo are animated television characters appearing on an iPad screen, thanks to an app that works like a game but calls itself a book. Indeed, the entire narrative is about the physicality of books; Another Monster only makes sense if young readers imagine that they're looking at a static, print-bound item that's somehow embedded within a digital experience. That's what I mean about mind-bending. With its various forms of nested media, Another Monster is like Borges for the under-5 set. Advertisement The Another Monster app is an extreme example of what I've found to be a common problem with children's books made for the iPad. They offer too many different kinds of experiences, becoming muddled in the process--and, more importantly, missing the point of children's books, which is to get kids excited about reading.

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on June 21, 2012 7:05 AM.

10 Important Life Lessons From Children's Books - The Atlantic was the previous entry in this blog.

French Bookstores Are Still Prospering - NYTimes.com is the next entry in this blog.

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