New to the iTunes App Store (and also available for Android) is The Wrong Book, written and illustrated by Nick Bland and given its electronic format by Wheelbarrow. Though new to my iPad, this book has been a favourite in our home for a while. So popular is it with my children that I can just about recite it backwards whilst standing on my head, and what could be more fun than that? A couple of things, actually…
Stuff to Love
My international readers may not be familiar with the comic genius that is Frank Woodley, and if so, you don’t know what you are missing. His narration of the story is perfect, with just the right amount of righteous indignation and frustration. My children tell me he reads it “nearly as good as you, Mum!”. (If you ever read this, Frank, I hope you appreciate the magnitude of this praise. After all, I’ve had years to get it right!)
If, for some strange reason, Frank’s voice is not to your liking, another great feature is being able record your own voice or your child’s. Very simple controls make this an easy task. Being able to listen to their own voice might help your child develop some of the important speaking tools of pace, volume and expression. It is also a lovely idea for children to be able to listen to the voice of an absent parent, grandparent or other loved one.
Nick Bland’s illustrations have some subtle additions (welllllll….maybe not so subtle) in the form of interactive elements including simple animations, sound effects and a few items that pop out of the illustrations and float about the screen. You can’t actually do much with items that pop on to the screen, other than swish them around as you tilt your iPad, but they add to the general chaos that develops in the story as more and more characters invade the book.
Features I’d like to see in the next update.
What I’d love to see, apart from more of Nick Bland’s books, would be an option to re-read text, and the ability to hear each word read aloud when tapped. This kind of feature helps children who like to read independently but get stuck on the odd word. You can also use this feature to play I-Spy games with phonic elements and sight words.
iPad 1 owners such as myself may encounter a few performance issues in Version 1 of the App, but Wheelbarrow is issuing an update shortly that should address any problems. Alternatively, I’d be happy for either Frank or Nick to turn up on my doorstep bearing an iPad 3 loaded with The Cranky Bear, also by Nick Bland and narrated by Angus Sampson. [Update: This issue has now been addressed and it works really well on the original iPad. My only beef is that neither Nick or Frank turned up. Darn it.]
With all the international picture eBooks available in the iTunes App store, I’m really excited to have found an eBook that is 100% Australian. (The fact that it ranks in our family top ten doesn’t hurt either.) It makes a change to hear our own Aussie accent reading a book by one of our own. Wheelbarrow has done a great job and I’m looking forward to seeing what else the team comes up with (would love to see what they could make out of When Henry Caught Imaginitis also by Nick Bland.) While lacking a few features that I like to see in a picture eBook, there is a lot to love. The high quality words and illustrations accompanied by Frank Woodley’s narration make this a great addition to your picture eBook library.
- Evaluating Apps: How to pick a good story app (onsarahsipad.wordpress.com)