I am still unconvinced by ebooks, at least for me that is, although I think they’d be great for non-fiction stuff (all that being able to highlight and add notes and it being a lot more easily searchable would be great), I still love the feel of a real book (and the fact you can read it in a bath and curl up far more easily in bed with it). There’s no temptation with them either, no I’ll settle down to read this book but ooh I’ll just check my twitter feed and my e-mail first.
But e-books for the kids on the other hand . . . I quite like them and although Mr. Lacer would say I use them as an excuse to get out of reading the kids a story (in my justification I only do that when I am extremely tired, like last night), I think they can be really fun and interactive if done right. So I have a number of children’s e-books on my iPhone and iPad, I think they tend to better if on the iPad, just because of the size, although having a few on my iPhone was definitely useful in the past when my kids were slightly smaller and we were waiting outside ballet lessons etc. Old favourites include the Dr. Seuss books and an amazing e-book version of the short film The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
(Whilst searching Youtube for the above clip, I also found this which looks pretty cool, although it’s more expensive than Morris Lessmore, I suspect it to will eventually find its way onto my iPad*)
But new favourite kids’ ebook app has to be Ladybird Me Books (discovered via the extremely cool if you’ve got small kids blog, Made by Joel). I think anyone of *ahem* a certain age will automatically think, when they think Ladybird Books of the extremely cool (in a vintage sort of way) kids books they used to publish in the ’60s and ’70s, well guess what, they’ve turned those vintage books into an app! Complete with slightly browning pages and sellotape marks! I am very possibly a bit in awe.
The kids love this app and have already been requesting extra books to be downloaded from the Me Books Shop. I had already downloaded The Three Little Pigs – principally because I so remember that book from when I was a kid and Talkabout The Park. The Zoo comes free with the app but Boy Lacer very eagerly wanted the dinosaur book to, so I downloaded that as well and it’s already been requested for tonight’s bedtime (the app is free and the books a very reasonable £1.99 each).
Last night they had a look at the Talkabout The Park book, although it is a bit technically young for them (they’re 5 and 7), I had bought this particular book for Boy Lacer as although he is a good reader for his age he needs encouragement with his comprehension and the Talkabout series consists of pictures to talk about (such as in this case pictures of a busy park) alongside some simple games to play. I really really wish they had had this app when Boy Lacer was three and still having extensive speech therapy as I would have found this app even more invaluable as I remember his speech therapist being very keen that Boy Lacer looked at lots of books and tried to talk about what he saw and although he did give it a good go at the time he would have been even more instantly attracted to a book like this that talked back at him and made sounds and was so interactive. And although his speech is better now I think it will still help.
What the kids really liked about the app though was the ability to change and record their own hotspots (the area on the screen where if you touched it, it would make a sound). So this is what they were getting up to with the book last night.
As you can see Girl Lacer doesn’t know her tulips from her roses yet lol. Also Girl Lacer has the see the hotspots button switched on and although I pointed out to her that she didn’t need it on just to read the book and listen to the sounds, she wanted it on because otherwise “she didn’t know where to touch”, even though she has absolutely no problem with other interactive books, I guess because the feature is there to see the hotspots, she’s going to use it. Anyway I doubt she’s ever going to ‘just’ read these books and will want see hotspots turned on so that she can edit them. Anyway going back to the speech therapy aspect, an ebook that actually encourages the child to speak (to record the hotspot), it’s fantastic. Once again oh how I wished we had this app a couple of years ago but it is still going to be very useful. Thumbs up to Ladybird Books and their developers!
*Due to a very generous inheritance earlier this year we actually have two iPads, I have one and Mr. Lacer has one, the kids primarily use Mr. Lacer’s as I am a bit *a-hem* protective of my iPad and I also use it more than Mr.Lacer uses his iPad, who may very possibly have bought his iPad as a distraction tool to try and coax the kids off his computer. However whether I am protective of my iPad or not, it doesn’t really matter as both kids think daddy’s iPad is way cooler than mummy’s iPad anyway, as it has all the cool games on (just as they prefer his iPhone over mine to). I just think it’s funny or perhaps not really surprising knowing us how me and Mr. Lacer have ‘personalised’ our iPads and how his is full of games and mine is full of e-book apps and productivity tools.