2013 Finalists: Book Apps


written by Disney
developed by Disney and Touch Press
nominated by Shannon Miller
Disney’s animated movies have enchanted families for generations. Now, this richly layered multimedia book app takes readers behind the scenes to see all the different aspects that go into creating animated feature films. Read about the original development of animation, watch Walt Disney talk about where story ideas come from, zoom in to look at a detailed storyboard from 101 Dalmatians drawn by legendary illustrator Bill Peet.
It’s absolutely fascinating peeling back the layers of classic animated as well as computer generated (CG) films, seeing how a scene develops from the initial story sketch to rough drawings or computer models, to final colored animation. With the scene from Chicken Little, you can see how the animators matched the drawings to the recorded dialog. Picture boards for the Wreck-It Ralph characters in the Sugar Rush game show the visual inspirations, including pictures of marble cake swirls and butterscotch candies. Interactive elements let readers stop animated clips, progressing frame by frame, swipe through a timeline with every Walt Disney Animation Studio feature film, and manipulate Vanellope, a CG character from Wreck-It Ralph. A book could never let readers see these animated layers in action!
This book app lets readers progress at their own pace, diving into sections they’re interested in. It’s a perfect blend of book, animation and interactive features, all designed to help readers explore the many fascets of animation.
Review by Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books
written and developed by Originator, Inc.
nominated by Pink Me
Endless Alphabet is a superb, interactive, picture dictionary app for kids from preschool through early grade school. Combining unique words with clever illustrations and animation, and adding silly monsters and unforgettable sounds, Endless Alphabet is a book app kids will return to again and again. Readers have access to wonderful, not-so-ordinary alphabet words. As they drag letters into words, readers can hear the sound each letter makes. Then, they hear how to pronounce the word, learn the meaning of the word, and watch a short, and often silly, enactment of the word. Kids can choose whether to move from word to word or to repeat a word as many times as they choose. Listen as little readers try letter sounds themselves. Hear giggles as monsters act out words like gargantuan and hilarious.
Review by Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts
written by Cornelia Funke
developed by Mirada Studios
nominated by Liviana
MirrorWorld is a companion app to Cornelia Funke’s fantasy novels Reckless and Fearless. In sixteen short independent chapters, the app expands Funke’s world through seamless integration of illustration, audio narration, music, and animation. Whether documenting animated fencing instructions or telling how Jacob Reckless first met the treasure hunter Albert Chanute, this app is both an intriguing introduction for those new to the world and exciting backstory for fans who want more.
MirrorWorld’s art direction is perfectly on tone with the dark and beautiful content. The art is at once sophisticated and simple, never overpowering the story. In “A Bad Substitute Father”, readers can either “view the spectacle” and watch a shadow play while listening to Funke read the chapter aloud, or they can read the story themselves. This reinforces the book qualities of this app, while exploring the multimedia opportunities presented by the iPad’s interactive features to let readers explore this world. Multiple methods of navigation encourage exploration and leaves room for imagination. Readers can explore the cavernous Ogre’s Tavern or use the navigation aides to follow chapters in sequential order. A layered, unique look into this fantastical world that will grip children and teens.
Review by Jackie Parker, Interactive Reader
written by Shane Koyczan
developed by Moving Tales inc
nominated by Jill Goodman
To This Day is the app version of one of the most powerful spoken word poems to be presented and shared in many years. Shane Koyczan writes of his experience dealing with violence, bullying and harassment in school in a searingly honest way. The app takes Koyczan’s live performance and adds animation and artwork created by multiple artists, making the anti-bullying message even stronger.
This app provides a unique viewing experience because the artwork changes every time you open it. When sharing this spoken word and artwork with my students, you could hear a pin drop; that is something that does not happen too often in the middle school world. To anyone who has spent time on this planet, you will be moved by not only the words, but also by the animations that accompany the spoken word. Last, go ahead and give yourself a shot by recording your own voice reciting the spoken word. Koyczan makes sure readers know that words can hurt more than sticks and stones, but that in the end we all must walk the balancing act in our lives, believing in our own beauty.
Review by Aaron Maurer, Coffee For The Brain and the new site www.coffeeforthebrain.com
written and developed by Wee Society LLC
nominated by Barb S.
Wee You-Things is a celebration of what makes each of us unique. The  interactive children’s book introduces the concept with a colorful parade of friends each with his or her own quirk. Ruth has a purple tooth and Lamar has a crooked scar a la Harry Potter. All the pages are cleverly animated to show off the special somethings. The bold, colorful patterns, sound effects and rhyming prose are spot on. Some of the you-things are silly and fanciful and others reference changes in our society that may be less easy to explain like Brad having two dads. The inclusion of this particular friend and a disabled one speaks volumes about how intelligent this book really is. At the end kids get a chance to create their own You to join the parade of friends. It’s a perfect way to let kids know looking or sounding different is okay and these “you things” are what make you special.
Review by Jill Goodman, AppoLearning