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

Thursday 28 April 2011

ebook Review: Nighty Night

Parents the world over lament bedtime for toddlers - it can be a challenging and exhausting time for everyone. As any book lover knows, reading is a wonderful way to ritualise the bedtime routine and help kiddlings achieve the sleepiness they need to cuddle up for slumber.

In Nighty Night, an interactive bedtime book for wee ones aged one to four, we're introduced to a sleepykins farmhouse, all hunkered down for the night, with nightlights burning.

As each illuminated window is tapped - yes, even the pond and dog house can be tapped on - kids will enter to find a chicken and her hens, a dog, a bleeting sheep, a cow and many more adorable animals, settling themselves for sleep.

Each animal can be tapped on three times for interactivity - then children must find and 'flick' the lightswitch in each room so the character can settle down to sleep. I simply adore how the cow, for example, settles herself in the straw - then, with a big sigh - finally rests her head. The fish in the pond are also priceless.

Once the animals are asleep, kids can tap to wake them up, however - most happily - each one quickly closes their eyes again, and heads straight back to sleepy land. Dreamlike crickets chirping softly form the perfect background noise to this book - as do the other sound effects each animal makes.

Once kids have worked their way through the book, we discover right at the end that someone else is still awake? I wonder who that could be??

Created by Heidi Wittlinger (Oscar Nominee of 2002 for best animated short) in collaboration with publisher Shape Minds & Moving Images, this book is beautifully illustrated, using a combination of paper-puppet-like illustrations, and hand-created sets and photographs, which create an almost tactile feel.

My only criticism, which seems to be an increasing problem in ebooks, is the inability to go backwards or to the start - once you embark on the story, you have to scroll right through in order to start again. As anyone who's ever read to children knows, being able to backtrack or start again on a whim is vital.

Hopefully this issue will be fixed, but other than that, Nighty Night is a truly gorgeous ebook to add to your literary stash - and lull the kids into the Land of Nod.

Nighty Night HD is published by Shape Minds & Moving Images, and is available on iTunes for AU$2.49.