'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 12 April 2011

ebook Review: Will & Kate

We kind of joke a little bit here at KBR about being so 'behind the times' regarding e-book picture book reviews, but honestly? the reason we haven't flooded our pages with anything and everything literarily electronic is because there's not much out there we'd want to review nor recommend on our site.

We are flooded with requests, yes, but few submissions have tickled our e-book funny bone.

Like any 'new thing', e-books are still in their relative infancy - and although the quality is certainly escalating by the minute - baby teeth are still cutting through, meaning there's not been a lot to stand out from the crowd. That is, until now.

I can pinpoint just three e-books I've fallen backwards over (we'll review the other two soon) - and Will & Kate: A Love Story is absolutely one of them.

Put together by the talented team at Toronto-based Ink Robin, this beautiful picture book is a joy - visually, creatively - audibly! Beginning with rather posh regal music, kids can either have the story read to them, or read it themselves. Whichever way they choose, the interactive components make it an awful lot of fun.

Adam Larkum's utterly gorgeous (and funny!) illustrations are combined with luscious colour photography which provides the backgrounds for a sweet, simple tale about how a young princely man and a pretty country girl fall in love.

Interactive elements include page-swiping for extended vistas (like the young Catherine's farm or young William's show-stopping home art gallery) and plenty of birds, corgies and hilariously bleating sheep to tap on and giggle over. The page where young William and his corgi grow up with three finger-tapping pops is brilliant, as is the hot air balloon courtship, the prince on his shiny white steed and that whopper of a ring, exploding from its box.

My other favourite page is the fireworks popping page over a silhouetted London (my son went nuts over this - every finger tap setting off a shower of sparks) and - of course - the wedding gown try-ons, complete with paperdoll cut-out gowns to try on the bride and some hilariously resplendant oohs and ahhs as each dress takes its mark.

Oh who am I kidding - every page is my favourite. From the 'glimpse the bride' parade outside Buck Palace to the I Do page, adorned with sheep and corgi and the magnificent bird's-eye view of the grand party held at granny's house afterwards, featuring a breathtaking waltz and dancers in swirling gowns spinning across the floor.

My only (and I mean only) cricitism of this book would be the narration. Although the reading and deliciously English voice are beautiful, it sounds a little tinny and could benefit from a little audio levels tinkering. Children will NOT notice, and this doesn't take away from the beauty of the book in the least - I am being extremely picky here.

Overall, Will and Kate: A Love Story is a charming, clever, witty and utterly gorgeous e-book. I want to read it over and over again forever, and laugh out loud at those bleating sheep and that neighing white steed and sigh over those beautiful English countryside photographic vistas. This is truly one of the best e-books I've seen and I am anxiously awaiting my next invitation to review another Ink Robin production.

Like the upcoming marriage of a certain prince and his future queen, it appears that a fairytale ending is also in the offing for the talented team at Ink Robin.

Will & Kate: A Love Story is available from the iTunes store right here for just $4.99. Tomorrow, don't miss our interview with Jo Rivard from Ink Robin, right here on KBR.