We had a fabulous weeks holiday in Chicago which included a pleasant mooch around a small independent bookshop as well as a trip to the public library.
It was great to see the large selection of picture books in both places although I was surprised how few paperback editions they had. At both the bookshop & library the books were all lined up along the shelf, spine facing out, which wasn’t the easiest for browsing. This did not however curb my enjoyment of combing the shelves and discovering different illustrators & authors. If there were no limits on funds or luggage space I could have happily bought a stack of new books but in the end I chose the following.
I was pleased to find the board book edition of Paperbag Princess, while I am looking forward to reading the full edition to the kids I thought this would be a great first introduction to the world of princesses for Freya. A story of an intelligent princess outwitting a fearsome dragon & forging her own path, whats not to like. I also love the line ‘you look like a prince, but you are a BUM’
For Bryn, knowing that he was beginning to enjoy longer stories & that we had an 8hr plane journey ahead I opted for a couple of early chapter books. I choose ‘Happy Birthday Bad Kitty’ by Nick Bruel which is a great mixture of humour & fact. I think Bryn was taken with Kitty’s bad behaviour & after a few a readings he was confident enough to pick out his favourite parts of the story. There was also a good balance of illustrations and text allowing him to easily follow the story. This book was such a success we even tracked down another in the series at the local library.
My second choice was a book from the Mercy Watson series, also featuring a mischievous animal, a pig. The main reasons for choosing ‘Mercy Watson, something wonky this way comes’ by Kate DiCamillo were because of the illustrations and that it provides a slice of American life (although from around the 50′s) In this story Mercy is taken to an outdoor cinema where she causes havoc eating everyone’s popcorn until the firemen come to the rescue. I love the bold vibrant illustrations which help the story leap out from the pages into a fun rollicking read.
Here are some of the books that I was also keen to buy
I recently entered an app-tacular competition on @maybeswabey ‘s “ubercucumbercool” blog which reviews picture book apps, The App Puppy.
All you need to do to enter the competition is write about what picture book you would like to see made into an app. Go on, have a go, there’s a great prize.
I have a mix of games & book apps suitable for Bryn which he really enjoys playing. My observation on the more successful book ones are when there are things to do within the story, such as putting the dirty dishes in the sink in Nosy Crow’s Cinderella; touching the text for the words to be read out as in Sir Charlie Stinky Socks Big Adventure; or an element of surprise like when the cow turn into a dragon in Mindshapes’ Jack & the Beanstalk. Armed with this small amount of experience I found myself thinking of how a few of our favourite reads could become favourite apps.
Monkey & Me by Emily Gravett
I think this would make a great app, with it’s fabulous illustrations & melodic refrain. It would be fun to animate the girl so you can see her mimic the animals. The camera could be used to record the child reading making animal noises. I think the pages showing the animals could have a feature where you can choose to see real life footage of animals. It might also be fun to have a range of tights for the main character from stripy to spotty. A special bonus would be a drawing masterclass from the author, something similar to the ‘How To Draw…’ Guardian videos.
Don’t Put your Pants on Your Head Fred! by Caryl Hart & illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson
We got this book about a month ago & it’s a fun read. Luckily the authors website has a few activities which provided ideas of what could be included in an app such as dressing Fred or the Queen. The book features many pants, so I thought a fun game would be to try & spot a certain number on each page or perhaps click on them to send them flying round the page. I love the collage style illustration in the book so another activity could be to collect stuff throughout the app: flowers, sequins, bubble wrap, etc. in order to create your own Fred using collage at the end.
Traction Man by Mini Grey
This series of books has a cinematic feel which would be great for an app. Whenever I read them aloud I think they could benefit from some atmospheric music to set the mood, which an app could do. It has a comic strip layout which would work well in an app as you could touch the main characters for a speech bubble to appear. Extra features could include a ‘create your own Traction Man’ adventure with preset panels & stock images of the main characters or a design your own pet sidekick like Scrubbing Brush.