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

Monday 2 May 2011

ebook Review: The Three Little Pigs and the Secrets of a Pop-Up Book

Oh my. Ebooks can be done so badly or so boringly. The thing that seems to be eluding most ebook producers is that simplicity, humour and creativity (and a dash of clever) is best.

And Best has certainly been achieved by Game Collage - a small company run by Seattle-based talent Juraj - in this delightful rendition of The Three Little Pigs.

This absolutely adorable ebook has taken original illustrations by L Leslie Brooke and recreated them, cut-out style, into a modern, hip and ultra cool version of the 'complete' tale - that is, the tale that includes the oft-deleted scenes where the third little pig continues to trick the wolf in a turnip field, in an apple tree and at the local fair.

So, how do you create a 'pop-up' book inside the confines of a flat iPad screen, I hear you ask? Well, you create it virtually, of course. In this book, kids can tap and swipe at elements that mimic movable parts of a classic pop-up book - but more than that, they can tap on a pair of x-ray glasses on the border of most pages to see the 'inner workings' of the pop-up mechanisms used, including cogs, wheels, springs and levers. Tapping the glasses again returns the page to normal.

Hilarious oom-pah-pah-style music and charming cartoon-like sound effects make this book an utter joy to meander through.

I particularly love the string and pulley capabilities that allow kids to flick turnips around the page or roll a mass of apples (tied to string) from the boughs of the apple tree. Tipping the iPad can also produce this effect. Little ones who find it hard to focus on higher text tales such as this one, will adore rolling apples around whilst continuing to absorb the text as you read.

Gorgeous modern graphics (including stitched-on buttons) add a contemporary edge to the design of the pages that adults will enormously appreciate, and kids will lap up.

The addition of a central 'button' that can quickly and easily return the reader to the start or access the mute button, is enormously appreciated, making for an ebook that has been optimally designed with regard to functionality as well as beauty.

What a glorious way to introduce children to a classic nursery story. Younger kids will adore it, older kids will be fascinated by the x-ray engineering additions and adults will just swoon as all elements of modern technology, engineering, creativity, design and classic storytelling are combined into one.

Ebook producer Game Collage is certainly one to watch.

The Three Little Pigs and the Secrets of a Pop-Up Book is available on iTunes for AU$4.99.