Gimlet-eyed toddlers are lining up at the Apple store. With parents in tow, they’re here for the iPad.

How do you read to your kids these days?  If you have a smartphone or an iPad, you can download a book app that has narration, animation and interactive features. Some kids today are seeing their first written words on a digital device. They have yet to touch a spine, turn a page or tote a book.


A screengrab from the Cat in the Hat app, from Oceanhouse Media.


What do most kids love At First Listen? Dr. Seuss ~ everything from Green Eggs and Ham to The Cat in the Hat.  Oceanhouse Media has the rights to produce all of them as digital books.

What do most kids love At First Touch?  A book on the iPad.

They can navigate by flipping pages and tapping a finger before they are even able to manipulate a mouse. How’s that for magic? Kids can touch the picture or touch the word that they don’t know. Interactive features. Hidden sound effects. Original music. Lavish productions.  3-D pages. The iPad/e-book is a real game changer.

As the app reads the book, each word is highlighted. Kids can see an association between what they are hearing and the actual word being spoken. They can also touch any of the pictures and get a picture/word association. Tap on the cat and the letters C-A-T float up. And a voice says, cat.

Ruckus Media is another developer of digital books and apps. A Present for Milo, an award-winning app, is aimed at very young children. Poke and be satisfied.  There are 125 animations to amuse little Suzie. Yes, Milo is a book… but it’s a book you can play with and a game you can read.

So is it really a book?  Experts say that during a traditional reading experience, the reader is in charge. With an interactive e-book, the reader does act on the book. But the book also acts on, and depending on the adaptation, against the reader. What about those flashy features? Are all the bells and whistles distracting? We watch a film. We play a video game. We ‘use’ an e-book?

iPhone Screenshot 5

All apps are not created equal. There’s an app that turns Peter Rabbit into a virtual pop-up book. Other apps, when you touch a word,will pronounce it for you ~  in the language of your choice.


Here’s a peek at Milo. You be the judge.



And Here’s today’s PerDiem Good Thing – or not……

Get the Apps

The Cat in the Hat

A Present for Milo

Green Eggs and Ham

Pop Out! The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Toni 3/28/11