Looking for great storytime resources? Be sure to check out King County’s fantastic array of rhymes and songs. King County Library System rocks!
Illustration for The Globe and Mail by Graham Roumieu
At the age of 2, Calvin Wang’s son seems to have learned a truism that is already ricocheting around the Internet: A book is an iPad that doesn’t work.
Wang designs interactive storybooks for the iPad. He was inspired, he says, by watching his daughter interact with a movable cardboard book. Since then, Loud Crow, his Vancouver-based firm, has turned an array of children’s picture books that take the pop-up concept into the digital age. Books such as Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit now respond to touch by moving, twirling, speaking and noise-making.
Having experienced the app, he says, his son is puzzled by the fact that creatures in the original cardboard books don’t move. “When he opens the book, the first thing he does is start tapping the creature in the book.”
Turning children’s literature into iPad apps is a new and potentially lucrative business; successful creators have seen products fly off the virtual shelves, and venture capitalists are showing interest. But traditional publishers face challenges entering this market: Interactive applications are expensive to make, difficult to perfect and tough to market in the App Store environment. And even children’s authors are asking: Does a product that blurs the line between a book and a game destroy the joy of reading? And is one more screen what young children need in their lives?
Adaptations of kids books have been around almost as long as the iPad itself, a device so entrenched in the public consciousness that it seems as though it has always been a fixture on the landscape even though it has been on the market only since April, 2010, a mere 19 months. The first to make a splash was an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, simply called Alice. The creation of a laid-off journalist and a former financial-sector programmer, the $8.99 app took Lewis Carroll’s text and the iconic original illustrations from John Tenniel – both of which have passed into the public domain – and used the iPad’s innovative capabilities to turn them into tactile experiences.
When the iPad is flipped, Alice grows or shrinks. When the device is tipped, the queen’s crown teeters, or even falls off its pillow. Because the iPad can sense acceleration, developers could endow objects on-screen with realistic physics – the kind that young users find especially intuitive.
Chris Stevens, the app’s co-creator, says it hardly sold at all for the first couple of days. Then, he says, he released a YouTube video of the app, went to bed and woke up the next morning to see that 500,000 had seen it: This new medium’s potential had caught the public imagination. The app would later turn up in The New York Times and on Oprah.
“It was the right market to get some attention,” he recalls. “There was some excitement about the idea that the iPad might be the future of publishing.”
The Alice app would be the first of a bumper crop, mostly coming from the heady world of new-media app developers. It was one of the inspirations for works that followed, including Wang’s growing business in Vancouver. (This week, Loud Crow announced that it had snagged the rights to adaptPeanuts TV specials, including iconic entries such as A Charlie Brown Christmas, into the app format.)
But for all the hubbub, traditional children’s publishers are approaching the emerging market with caution.
One challenge is economics: Flashy, full-colour, animated interactive projects that run on high-end tablets are a different creature from eBooks, which typically aren’t interactive and can be read on a variety of devices, such as simple black-and-white Kindle or Kobo readers. The eBooks adhere to popular standards, making them relatively simple to make, whereas each children’s app is a unique creation that requires attention from authors, designers and programmers.
However, publishers can typically charge more for eBooks than they can for apps, which consumers are used to buying for less than $10. For instance, Loud Crow’s Peter Rabbit books cost $3.99 in the App Store.
“The interactive apps cost a lot of money, need to be updated frequently and the price point is incredibly low,” says Barbara Howson, vice-president of sales at House of Anansi and Groundwood books. All the same, Groundwood is currently working on an interactive adaptation of one title, Cybèle Young’s A Few Blocks.
“I think we’re in early days for kids books, in terms of demand and technology,” says Denise Anderson, director of marketing and publicity for Scholastic Canada. The publisher has embraced eBooks, with 400-odd titles already available in the format. As for interactive apps, few are currently available from the publisher, but she expects that to change within a year.
“Our mandate is to get books into the hands of children, however they’re delivered.”
So far, many of the interactive apps that have appeared in the marketplace have been adapted from books that are already cross-platform properties, such as Stella and Sam, a series of children’s books by Montreal author Marie-Louise Gay, which has been turned into a successful animated TV show.
For Gay, it’s important to distinguish between books and games – and the app, she says, is primarily a game. Where it comes to replacing books themselves with apps, she worries that the immersiveness of the technology can break up the shared experience of a child learning to read with a parent.
“You could actually put an iPad in a baby’s crib, and the pages will turn by themselves,” she says. Apps that read stories aloud and present interactive widgets threaten children’s ability to explore pages at their own pace, turning a social experience into an isolated pursuit, she says.
“That’s something that’s dangerous, because it’s like putting a child in front of a TV.”
That is a sentiment that has some support, even within the app world. The best interactive kids apps are the ones that actively depart from the source material, says Jason Krogh, the founder of Zinc Roe, the Toronto developer behind the Stella and Sam app, among others.
“The least successful examples take the book, put it on the screen, and they make hot spots so that when you press it, something happens,” he says. That’s why his firm is pushing interactive children’s technology in a new direction: letting kids tell their own stories. A new app called DoodleCast encourages kids to draw on the iPad screen, while making a real-time recording of what they’re saying aloud. After all, a child’s scribblings can be visually indecipherable, but its meaning comes clear as they explain it aloud.
“If you’ve ever drawn with a four-year-old, there’s always a narrative. They’re telling you about their day,” he says.
Kids books have gone through the looking glass, indeed.
Ivor Tossell is The Globe and Mail’s technology culture columnist.
(Make swimming motions as you sing)
(put your hands to your mouth)
(Make squiggling motions as you sing)
(Make flashing motions as you sing)
(Make lurking motions as you sing)
(Make spouting motions as you sing)
We believe that making a comprehensive A-Z list of collective nouns freely accessible will help those who share our fascination learn new terms and enjoy and share familiar. We hope that irrespective of whether you are browsing for fun or researching for homework that you will find these words, images and facts entertaining and informative. If you enjoy exploring this list you may well find our
forthcomingbook A Zeal of Zebras worth a look.
Some of the collective terms listed have real pedigree and lineage and can be found in JThe Oxford English Dictionary, ames Lipton’s 1968 An Exaltation of Larks or even The Book of St. Albans published in 1486. Some are of a more dubious and newer vintage than the original terms of venery. We make no apologies for being eclectic and hope that you will have fun with the words and enjoy our graphic interpretation of some of them.
Korky Paul on Brian Wildsmith
Brian Wildsmith’s work came out in the 1960s and he changed picture books. It was revolutionary stuff. One of his best books is The Hare and the Tortoise. He uses his own colours. He plays with scale, and his animals have characters: roosters strut their stuff, chickens are always eating, cats always sleeping.
What I like about his work is his wonderful use of white space; there are raggedy edges and extraordinary detail. He uses a mixture of media: watercolour, wash, then he works on top with chalk or pen. There is a lot of movement there.
My work is more spiky, but I love trying to create a fantasy world and to stylise it. Children’s books allow artists of all kinds to explore their own vision, how they see the world, and that’s what Wildsmith achieves so well. Exposing children to that teaches them that there are all sorts of ways of viewing the world.
Korky Paul has created illustrations for books including the Winnie the Witch series.
- Author unknown
(Repeat with 3 and 2)
(Continue until there are no little monsters and then say):
COPIES OF COPIES DEPARTMENT: I am in debt to the two superbloggers below, from who I got the idea and whose beautiful felt monsters I copied for my storytime. Merci beaucoup!
1. Scaredy Squirrel (2006)
2. Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend (2007)
3. Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach (2008)
4. Scaredy Squirrel at Night (2009)
5. Scaredy Squirrel has a Birthday Party (2011)
Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award for Children’s Picture Book
OLA Blue Spruce Award 2007 & 2008
Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award
CBA Libris Award for Children’s Author of the Year
ALA’s Notable Children’s Books
Independent Publisher Book Awards – Picture Books 6 and under (Bronze)
Children’s and YA Bloggers’ Literary Awards – Cybils
NCTE Notable Children’s Books in Language Arts
ReadBoston 2006 Best Read Aloud Book Award
ForeWord Book of the Year Award
Washington Children’s Choice Picture Book Award
North Carolina Children’s Book Award – Picture Book
“Le Prix de la Librairie Millepage” in Vincennes, 2006 (France)
SOURCE > Scaredy’s Wikipedia page
Words by Jimmy Kennedy in 1932; music by John W. Bratton in 1907
* Lyric change to make the original (“But safer to stay at home.”) less scary!
RHYME | Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
RHYMES | My Teddy Bear
My Teddy Bear
RHYME | Teddy Lost His Coat
(Slowly peel off the remaining two houses with exaggerated SFX)
Guybrarian recommends Once Upon A Felt for great felt board stories. The owners (Vesna Krcmar Lukic and Sandy Yip) are extremely talented and share my deep concern for early childhood literacy > check out their website:
Puff! Puff! (Blow out 2 candles)
Now there are eight.
Eight little birthday candlesticks
Puff! Puff! Now there are six.
Six little candles and not one more
Puff! Puff! Now there are four.
Four little candles, red, white and blue
Puff! Puff! Now there are two.
Two little candles, we’re almost done
Puff! Puff! Now there are none.
The fruits of the mango were fat. They were ripe. They sent their irresistible smell to the monkeys that lived by the riverbank.
One young monkey stood and stared sadly at the mango tree. He sniffed the air and whimpered.
A crocodile surfaced in the river. “Ah, friend monkey! I, too, have been wanting some of those delicious mangoes. Suppose we work together, as friends, to get them. I can swim across the river, but I cannot climb a tree. You can climb trees, but you cannot swim. So, jump on my back and I will carry you to the island. You can climb up the tree and eat all the mangoes you want, and throw the rest down to me.”
The happy monkey leaped onto the crocodile’s back and the crocodile swam away from the shore. But when they were no more than halfway to the island, the crocodile dived under the water. The poor monkey clung to the crocodile’s scales and held his breath.
When the crocodile surfaced, the monkey gasped and coughed. “What are you doing, friend crocodile? You know I cannot breathe underwater.”
“I am trying to drown you. Then, after I drown you, I will eat you.”
“Oh dear,” said the monkey. “That is so sad. So very sad. You are going to eat me, but you will not be able to taste my heart. It is the most delicious part of my body.”
“I will eat your heart!” said the crocodile.
“No,” said the monkey. “I don’t think so. You see, I keep my heart in the mango tree. I left it there just last week when I was checking to see if the fruit was ripe.”
“I will take you to the mango tree, and you will climb up and get your heart for me,” hissed the crocodile. “Then I will eat you and your heart.”
“Very well,” replied the monkey, “since you insist.”
The crocodile reached the far shore of the river and the monkey leaped onto the sand and scrambled up the tree. He began eating the ripe mangoes, and for good measure he threw some hard green ones down on the crocodile.
“Come down here!” growled the crocodile.
“Ha!” laughed the monkey. “A crocodile who believes that a monkey keeps his heart in a tree is as foolish as a monkey who calls a crocodile his friend.”
The monkey spent many happy days on the island. But he knew he must find a way to get back across the river to his home. Around and around the island swam the crocodile, still very angry.
The monkey went down to the sandy shore where the river was very narrow. Soon enough, the crocodile appeared.
“I guess I might as well give up,” said the monkey sadly. “I can’t get back across the river, the mangoes are all gone, and I shall soon die of starvation.”
The crocodile licked his crooked lips.
“So I might as well let you eat me,” continued the monkey. “Open your mouth and I will jump in.”
The crocodile opened his mouth.
“Get just a little bit further back from the shore, so I can make a good final leap,” called the monkey.
The crocodile backed up.
“Now open your mouth wide, wider, wider . . . so wide that you even have to close your eyes.”
The crocodile opened his jaws as wide as they would go and scrunched his eyes shut. Monkey made a stunning leap . . . over the crocodile’s mouth, landing on his back, and with one more bound he was back on the bank of the river with his family and friends.
Colour the monkey and the crocodile on both sides. Cut the crocodile’s mouth on the dotted line. When he opens his mouth at the end of the story, take the two parts of his mouth and separate them, making him open wide. Cut four or more mangoes and colour them orange (or use orange felt). Place them on the tree, and place the tree to the left of the felt board at the beginning of the story. When the monkey eats the mangoes, remove them from the board. The monkey begins the story standing on a small bit of sandy shore at the right of the felt board.