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First Look: Interactive Bartleby picture book


My son and I really dug the recent release of the iPad-ized Alice in Wonderland. After reviewing that application, I've been approached by any number of developers working on interactive e-Book titles. For the most part, these have been a disappointment -- providing the iPad equivalent of a "read along" book (the kind with a cassette or CD, and tones to turn the page) rather than showcasing any innovation.

I was really pleased, therefore, to stumble across this Bartleby preview. Under development by Monster Costume and Octopus Kite, and expected to release in July, Bartleby adds child-centric interactive elements to its eBook offerings, targeted at a 4-6 year demographic. As you can see in this preview video, buttons, sliders, and little puzzles expand an otherwise flat story-telling experience.

With Alice, I really loved the length and involvement of the book. It took us a good two evenings to read through it with lots of son-Mom interaction regarding unfamiliar words. I'm concerned that Bartleby may suffer from its brevity; but then again its audience is younger, presumably with less patience.

Will this go beyond the 11-page novelty books that are on eternal discount at Tuesday Morning and other similar remainder stores? It's hard to tell from just a couple of pages but if this app is priced aggressively and expanded into a proper series, it seems to promise a lively entry into the arena. I look forward to introducing the app to my youngest child when it debuts.

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