Our world of ebooks is so new, there are no clear definitions of what children's book apps and ebooks should look like or include, and that's causing some room for debate.
For instance, Kirkus recently started reviewing children's book apps. And while it's wonderful they are including them on their site, some of their comments are raising questions.
A prime example is the recent review for my picture book App, Lula's Brew (available for the iPhone and iPad). The review itself was... okay, but one of the negatives mentioned was a lack of interactivity. (Several apps received similar criticism.) And it's true. Other than page turns and the ability to have the story read aloud, Lula's Brew is a pretty straight forward picture book - one of the very first children's book apps ever available, I might add.
Picture book creators tend to love this - a straight forward book in digital form. After all, it's what we've been creating all along! And it's especially promising when you consider iBook 1.2's new ability to present picture books in ePub format. No bells and whistles there - just a simple presentation of a picture book. You flip the pages and can zoom in to see the text. There are currently no read-aloud features, no buttons to push to activate games or animations - it's just a book on a digital reader (an actual eBook).
So who says apps and/or eBooks must have buttons to push and animations to trigger simply because they can? Who gets to decide if that is how an app is supposed to work? And why should an app be criticized if it doesn't work that way?
Before the reviewers of the world start having too much sway on the subject - let's hear what you, the readers, have to say! Must a picture book app/eBook have interactivity? Is there room for both?