An early reader from the 1960s gets an empirical facelift.
The Ladybird Classics debuted in England in 1915 and over time became a wildly popular collection of “mass market” children’s books. Ladybird’s learn-to-read titles featured minimal illustrations and simple, highly legible text for early readers. The Zoo has been replicated on the iPad screen and has not been updated in terms of modern graphics, themes or text. However, a small dotted circle in the upper right-hand corner of the screen provides a potential creative goldmine for imaginative kids and those who read to them. Touch it once, and translucent lavender-colored areas appear, indicating hotspots. Touch a hotspot, and narration and/or sound effects are triggered. Don’t like what’s built in to the app? Double-tap the hotspot and swipe it horizontally to make it disappear, then use a fingertip to draw another one. Once created, readers can record narration or sound enhancements by pressing anywhere on the new area and holding it down. Though the app comes with preset hotspots, there is no limit to how many readers can create or how many populate each page. A reset function erases recorded elements and returns the app to its original settings.
This innovative approach proves that out-with-the-old isn’t a prerequisite for in-with-the-new. The concept alone is worth the price of admission. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)