Having enjoyed 15 years as a successful and well regarded economist leading environmental market design and implementation projects for the Victorian Government, Nic Lansdell decided to use her maternity leave to see where her love of stories, art, music and children would take her. That journey has proven to be too exciting, challenging and rewarding for Nic to stop exploring! Nic's daughters planted the seed for the idea behind Bizzibrains’ personalized story book apps. They love having their names substituted into their bedtime stories. Their giggles and increased engagement as they imagined themselves in the stories got Nic thinking, writing, dreaming and planning. In 2013 she founded Bizzibrains, a company that produces personalized, interactive story book apps for children. The apps blend kids photos and voices into beautifully illustrated stories that are full of fun and games. Bizzibrains' first app, I imagine, was released on 28 January 2014. Nic wrote, created and produced ‘I imagine’, engaging Kat Chadwick to produce the gorgeous illustrations and the lovely Megan Fergussan to narrate the story. Designed to develop literacy skills, encourage creativity and build independence, in the four months since it’s release 'I imagine' has received over 230,000 downloads, has almost 2 million sessions and many great reviews. In June 2014 Screen Australia announced that it will help fund the production of ‘I learn’, Bizzibrains' next exciting app for children getting ready to start kindergarten, preschool or school. Nic is looking for companies or businesses who are interested in Bizzibrains' products and ideas and helping to share them with audiences around the world.
“Thoughtful design features make this an inclusive story that will resonate with many young children.”
– Kirkus Reviews
Children will enjoy becoming the stars of this customizable story, creating different versions for repeated readings.
The story presents a familiar scenario, as a parent juggles “a mountain of work” while a child asks for some playtime, but the highlight is how readers create their own characters. “We’re going to put you, a grown-up who looks after you, and a toy into the words and pictures of this story,” the female British narrator prompts. The app instructions direct children to record their characters’ names and choose gender, skin tone, hair color and outfit. They also give their characters faces by using a supplied cartoon illustration, taking selfies with the iPad camera or accessing saved photos. These design features make this a very inclusive story, allowing for combinations that reflect readers’ lives and imaginations. It should be noted that the characters’ middle-class domicile is not customizable. The rhyming dialogue does not quite flow smoothly with the recorded names, but children will enjoy seeing their hand-built characters in the story. In the end, the protagonist gives up on the parent, creating instead an imaginary game with the doll, realizing, “I’m good at finding games to play for two instead of one. / With my imaginary friend I have a lot more fun.”
Thoughtful design features make this an inclusive story that will resonate with many young children.
Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2014
Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014
Bizzibrains' I imagine
Independent children's app producer
Favorite line from a book
"And he sailed back over a year and in and out of weeks and through a day and into the night of his very own room where he found his supper waiting for him."
Unexpected skill or talent
I'm very dextrous with my toes, I use them to pick things up, move things around, draw, amuse the kids....
Parents' Choice Fun Stuff Award
Featured in Apple's Best for Ages 5 & Under, What's Hot & Best New AppsApp Review: I imagine, 2014 A little imagination goes a long way in the apps world, 2014 AppPicker I imagine app review: probably the best interactive story book in the App Store, 2014 Curious Mum I imagine, 2014
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