media officer and translator. a travelling enthusiast and book lover.
Published July 22nd 2013
With the ever-expanding e-book industry, interactive e-books have become increasingly popular among children. The flourishing of e-books for children has diversified the choices, but at the same time, made it even harder for parents to choose an appropriate one for your kids.
A misunderstanding about children's e-books is that, the more interactive they are, the better children will be engaged. But the truth is that, an e-book will fail to keep children's concentration on the plot and content if it is over-interactive.
The following three recommendations are all perfectly-designed children e-books with plenty of interactive elements. However, instead of being sprinkled with animated hotspots that may distract children's attentions, the three works all try some ways to keep children's attention on the trajectory of story.
1. Four Little Corners Four Little Corners, produced by DADA Company, is an interactive adaption of Jerτme Ruillier's story with the same title. Targeted young readers above 3 years old, this e-book teaches them about values with simple expressions and inspiring interactive elements.
The story begins with the main character Little Square playing with his friends Little Circles until the bell rings. All Little Circles get into the house except for the Little Square because the doorway is round. The Little Square pulls himself and stretches himself, using all means to fit the doorway, but all of his efforts are in vain. After a meeting, his friends come up with an idea to make the doorway a square by cutting its four corners. In the end of the story, the Little Square finally manages to get into the house and join in his friends.
The uniqueness of this e-book is its brilliant manipulation of some simple shapes to imply the plot and express values such as friendship, teamwork and equality. For example, in a scene where Little Circles get together to discuss how to help their friend, they stand in a round circle, which symbolises teamwork in our culture. Such subtle details, with culture symbols in them, may be imperceptible to readers, but they play a big role in assisting understanding and complementing the narration.
Monster's Socks, the collaborative work of Jordan Stone and Martine Hughes, is a sweet and dream-like story about adventures of a little cute monster living in a box. Unlike Four Little Corners which aims at teaching children about values, this one simply focuses on engaging children into a journey of adventures and imagination.
The tale is straightforward: Monster can't find his socks when wakes up in the morning and embarks on a journey across the river, the sea, the dray land, the forest and even the outer space to find his socks. He encounters some adventures and makes new friends along the way before the inevitably happy ending he finds his socks in his own house.
In the story, the fluffy hair of the little monster looks so real that it renders readers an irresistible feeling to touch it. And the background is intentionally set blurry, rendering the story a touch of mystery. The special design echoes the ending everything happens in the dream of the little monster.
The most amazing thing of this app is its success in making children in control of the story, whereby engaging them to the largest extent. Children can make the little monster go forward, stop and even turn back by easy operations. For your kids, it would be a wonderful experience to be a crucial part of the story.
3. Rita the Lizard
Rita the Lizard, produced by Irene Blasco Grau in 2012, is an outstanding children e-book with many awards including Award with Mention in Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award 2013, Best Book Apps 2012 authorized by Kirkus Reviews and Editor's Choice Award 2013 by Children's Technology Review. With dense layers of gorgeously textured art, this story attempts to tell children that 'Be yourself since you are the best'.
Adapted from the Award-wining book published in 2006, this e-book tells a story of a red lizard with an identity crisis 'Rita thinks she is a chameleon just like her Uncle William', but her unchangeable bright red color never blend her into the background. With the help of her friends, the crisis is finally solved. And the story is ended with a festive dance party celebrating who Rita really is.
Rita the Lizard wins in its flamboyant colour and dense layers of gorgeously textured art. The frequently use of red, yellow and other hot colours suggest warmth and excitement, and they will definitely give your children a cheerful mood.
What's more, Rita the Lizard is abundant of funny interactive elements: a bird can fly from its nestle; a bat's eyes can shine in the night; an alarm clock can ring; a flower can blossom; and almost everything showed on screen will respond to readers when they touch them.
A creative secret counter is added at the right bottom of every scene, inviting your kids to discover the hidden surprises. It firstly shows the total number of hotspots in the scene, and then counts down to zero until every of them are found. Such design will give children challenges in accomplishing the reading task, but once completing it, children will have the feeling of self-fulfilment.
So, don't hesitate to download these amazing apps in apple store with less than $2.00 for each. They are definitely the best choices for your kids to learn with fun.