|Papa Gatto ap|
|The Crystal Mountain app|
I really had no idea how my work would translate to this medium. I downloaded Merry Christmas Curious George and Mr. Tickle—two of the early apps created for the iphone, and I studied them to see what exactly was being done.
Since PicPocket was developing my apps with their own dime, I wanted to give them the freedom to create the product they felt would work the best. They created my two apps so that the story is read while seeing the text alone scrolling on the page, then the page turns, showing the picture alone with no sound. I liken it to when a teacher reads a page of a story to a group of children, then turns the book around to show them the picture. It works, and they did a lovely job on the production, but I feel that for a young child it would be preferable to have pictures on every page. The challenge is how to do that with a very long story, and all of my books tend to fit in that category. For the iPhone, and my long books, it would be close to impossible to achieve that goal, unless the text did not appear on the page while the story is read.
In Curious George, there is an option to have no text shown on the page. The story is read as different parts of the picture are panned, zoomed in on, etc. This becomes more of an audiobook with pictures, similar to the story DVDs produced by Nutmeg Media. (They produced my Goldilocks and Mother Goose and Friends.) My books would work well like this, though many parents I’m sure would prefer the text to be shown, to encourage a child to begin to learn reading. The Mr. Tickle app uses the same picture for a number of pages, but zooms in closer each time, with a few lines of text at the bottom of each page. It is interesting that while neither Curious George nor Mr. Tickle are particularly long stories, they still had to be reformatted with extra pages of zooming and cropping, in order to work in a small format like the iPhone.
My conclusion: shorter is sweeter, for iPhone picture book app stories. Because my stories are quite long, (and my pictures don't lend themselves to animation and other interactive app elements) I am now choosing to concentrate on producing ebooks versus apps, for the rest of my OP titles (though I'd still like to explore doing an app with pictures panning in and out and no text while it is being read.) The e-readers are larger (iPad and NOOKcolor and more appearing all the time) The books will still need some re-formatting, cropping, zooming, adding extra pages, so the text will not appear too small. I want to be very careful and make sure what I produce is a pleasing design, with pictures on every page, as well as being easy to read. I will also be buying lots of ebooks and studying how other people are solving these issues.
This is such an exciting time. The dawn of a new way to share stories with children. There will always be parents that want to cuddle up with their child and the paper product called a “book,” but soon more and more parents will be cuddling up with their child and the NOOK or iPad, loaded with a library's worth of stories. I'm hoping a few of my books will be in that library. And maybe there will still be a few printed books on the (actual vs virtual) shelf as well.