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Presented here are my Top 10 interactive books for the iPad. I had a tough time sorting out the list, there’s more and more out there every day, so I’m sure there’s more than a few decent ones that I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading. I wanted to set some criteria for selection; the books needed to have some level of interactivity and if not, I wanted a certain level of animation. Some have more than others, some are more clever in their approach to interactivity than others. The stories also needed to be good stories, so if you’re going to recreate an old classic (Alice or Peter Rabbit for instance) then I want to see it recreated in a creative fashion.
This will be an organic list too by the way, constantly changing. I reserve all right to change my mind over time as new books come out and I get sick of older ones.
Interesting to note that of all the books on the list, only one (Food Fight) I think is and original story created for the iPad.
So here goes…
  1. PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit ($4.99) Absolutely stunning work. Very faithful to the original story and illustrations. Pure magic.
  2. The Heart and the Bottle ($4.99) The newest title on the list and a contender for the top spot. A great little philosophical read. The beauty of this book lies in it’s illustrations and the way you can interact with them. The book encourages you to really explore the pages. A must buy.
  3. The Monster at the End of this Book ($4.99) A Sesame Street story so not entirely age appropriate for primary-aged students, but an hilarious remodeling of the 1971 Golden Book. Brilliant.
  4. Pedlar Lady ($5.99) Presented by Moving Tales, a great story, presented in a unique style – a little creepy, a lot cool. One of the first interactive books out there, though not overly interactive. Still one of my personal favourites.
  5. Food Fight ($4.99) An Interactive Story by Glenn Melenhorst. Great story, clever narrative, the perfect model for interactive storybooks and it’s read in an Australian accent.
  6. Alice for the iPad ($11.99) At this price, it’s a bit over the top, but it’s a fantastic book nonetheless, just not in that impulsive buy category.
  7. Animalia ($4.99) Australian artist/author Graeme Base brings his brilliant work to the iPad. Very interactive, faithful reproduction of the book, great value.
  8. Teddy’s Day ($2.49) A nice story, aimed at a pre-school/early primary age group. Fantastic illustrations, great interactivity.
  9. Twas the Night Before Christmas ($4.99) Not interactive as such, more enhanced if anything, almost like a movie. Great for Christmas time obviously and a classic poem/story.
  10. The Lorax ($4.99) Token representative from the Dr. Seuss collection.  Would be higher up the list if there were more accents/languages available – the Dr. Seuss books are read the world over.

Slowly but surely, publishing companies are starting to create some outstanding book apps. Not all of which will be relevant to my classroom, but having a small child of my own, I’ve been buying many of them for his entertainment (and mine) and can see their relevance to different levels of primary school.

The Wonky Donkey was originally a picture storybook by New Zealand author Craig Smith – or perhaps it was a song first, I’m not sure. Anyway, the app is essentially the book being read by Smith himself, complete with funny kiwi accent, with the original pictures and a very small amount of interactivity. You can also flick it over so the song plays over the top of the pictures instead. What you end up with is an incredibly clever and entertaining story that will appeal to kids up to early primary age and is also quite humorous to parents too.

Kiwa Media have done their best putting many of their titles into the App Store and so far, I’m loving them. The Wonky Donkey sells for $9.99 which is pretty pricey when it comes to apps, but when you look at what it is you’re getting and that’s the narrated book with extra singalong, it’s decent value. I’ve definitely got my money’s worth over and over.

Recommended for the classroom? Definitely, grades prep to two, possibly three.

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