The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter will have its 110th birthday this October (Personal Trivia: it was published just days after my paternal Grandmother was born) and it is just as fresh and wonderful for children today as it was at the beginning of last century. It is a must-have book for the family bookshelf. There are a few electronic versions available, including several on the iTunes App store, but today I’m just going to look at the treatment Loud Crow gives it in their version PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The great news is that its sequel, PopOut! The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, was recently released. Another Beatrix Potter Tale has also been given the Loud Crow treatment with PopOut! The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, equally as fabulous.
If you can imagine a delightful vintage Pop-up book, then you’ve pretty much got the picture.
Illustrations and Interactive Elements
Beatrix Potter’s original illustrations are cleverly adapted to become a virtual pop-up book. Some ‘traditional’ pop-up elements you will find include:
- Tabs to pull or slide, such as the one that allows Peter and Benjamin to peek out at the cat in The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (pictured above).
- Discs to turn – one makes Peter’s tears fall as the robins watch on in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
- Little hinges, such as that on Peter’s arm (below), to move. They have put virtual brads and eyelets on the hinges, which adds to the vintage look.
What makes this Pop Out, rather than simply Pop Up, is the extra little interactive elements. When you tap a falling leaf, it really does pop out, producing a bigger leaf that reacts to the tilting of the screen or being dragged by fingers. In the image above (from PopOut! The Tale of Benjamin Bunny), Peter has dropped the onions. Tapping on them makes them pop out. In the Peter Rabbit story, my children particularly love picking Gooseberries, which not only pop out like the leaves, but very satisfyingly go SPLAT when you tap them again. In PopOut! the Tale of Benjamin Bunny, they loved tracking muddy footprints across the page. The squelchy sound effects are just delightful.
While too many interactive elements can distract a child from the story, I find these add to my children’s understanding of the story. Living in a tropical climate on the other side of the world to England, my children don’t have too much experience of autumn leaves, gooseberries and other features of Potter’s world, and these interactive elements gave us a chance to explore and talk of these background concepts. It all adds to the richness of the stories.
The narration is well paced, with beautiful expression, and is delivered with a lovely clipped English accent. Children can choose to either read the story alone or to have it read by the narrator. Words are highlighted as read, and there is an option to re-read the text that is available in both modes. Children can also tap each word to hear them read aloud. This is great for children who are mostly independent readers but still have problems with the odd word.
- A subtle musical theme plays in the background and does not distract from the story. You can easily adjust the volume, or turn it off completely, from the opening menu.
- Pages turn when swiped with a realistic animation and sound.
- The Apps are universal so will work with either iPad or iPhone/iPod Touch
- Versions are also available for Android.
If you are looking for an Easter treat that won’t rot your child’s teeth, may I suggest you invest in one or all of Loud Crow’s Beatrix Potter stories. I really can’t say enough about them, except MORE PLEASE!
Where to get them:
PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit is available for iPad or iPhone (Universal) from the iTunes store for $5.49 (International prices will vary) A Lite version is also available so you can see for yourself how lovely it is before you buy. Also available for Android.
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- Evaluating Apps: How to pick a good story app (onsarahsipad.wordpress.com)
- Moo Media goes Mobile – Four Picture eBooks your children will love (onsarahsipad.wordpress.com)