Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Day I Became a Pirate eBook App

This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad 

Cost: $1.99 
Category: Books 
Released: May 10, 2012 
Version: 1.0 
Size: 51.8 MB 
Author: Cary Snowden
Illustrator: Zach Clough
Seller: No Ink, Inc. 
© 2012 TaleSpring, Inc. 
Recommended age: 4-6 years

GlobaleBook Award Winner:  Best illustration in children’s fiction and Best multimedia in an ebook.
The Day I Became a Pirate caught my attention as it is an award-winning eBook.  It was awarded best illustration in children’s fiction (eBook) and best multimedia in an eBook.  It also reminded me of one of my favourite days in September, International Talk Like a Pirate Day where I would always read Pirates Don’t Change Diapers, a favourite among my Kindergartens : )  
The Day I Became a Pirate, written in a simple four line rhyming scheme, tells a story of a young lad who finds himself face to face with a band of pirates needing his help.  Feeling threatened at first, the young boy tries to escape, but to no avail.  Eventually the pirates come to shore and the Captain introduces himself as Captain Black, from somewhere far Down Under”.  He offers the boy, in exchange for the boy’s help with their ailing mate, the treasure that sits on their pirate ship.  The boy quickly ascertains that the pirate is ill due to eating a Swordfish too quickly.  Holding his breath and reaching deep, the boy pulls out the swordfish and saves the pirate.  The men, despite the boy’s protests, leave him with their latest plunder of treasure and set sail.  The boy buries the treasure for safe keeping but alas, has forgotten where.
Despite the glowing reviews on the iTunes site from happy parents, I have to say I wasn’t as impressed with the award-winning eBook.  The illustrations by Zach Clough were colourful with clean lines, aesthetically pleasing, very much like cartoons you see on TV nowadays; however, I was disappointed with the lack of depth and details that can often add to the story.  The story seemed rather text-heavy for the age-range but the narration option took care of that concern; but the fact that the reader has to choose between reading the text or seeing the pictures really bothered me.  I am a reader who likes to see text interacting with the illustrations, cleverly displayed beside, organically blended, or at the very least, interacting in some way with the illustrations.  The amusing rhymes where appropriately displayed on a scroll; but, the scroll was blocking the entire picture.  Readers have to choose to read the text or engage with animated illustrations.  I think far too much attention was given to adding secret clues (for the reader to follow up with on an outside webpage), creating short, amusing animations (like the belly X-Ray) and other details were missed, such as the Pirate Ode being spoken rather than sung (even though it was displayed on a musical score!).
Overall, the price for the eBook was reasonable but I do feel that there other interactive eBook options where all the details have meticulously been planned out and executed.

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