Yay for EPUB3! Stanislav Ustymenko recently emailed me to let me know about his EPUB3 children’s book, Cinderella, with text by the original author Charles Perrault.
Cinderella is one of the books available in the Fairy Tales for Clever Kids app, available on iTunes and developed by Teamich Inc. Currently the app only has two books, but they are some of the few books that take advantage of the capabilities of EPUB3.
For those who may not know, EPUB3 allows for cool new features, such as audio, video, and interactivity. But e-readers cannot support EPUB3 and most tablets cannot support all the features of EPUB3. Currently iPad has the most capabilities, which is probably why Cinderella and Fairy Tales for Clever Kids is only available as an iOS app.
In Cinderella, there are a lot of impressive interactive features. On every page, there is an activity you must do in order to turn the page. So for example, on the first page, you must tap on Cinderella before you can move on in the story. Once you pick the correct answer/image, there is a lovely sparkly sound to let you know—and if you choose incorrectly, there is a clunk sound.
Although I think this e-book was cleverly done, the reason I’m giving it three stars is because I could not get past the second page. The question at the bottom of the screen is, “What do you use to scrub the floors?” and no matter what I tapped, I could not find the right image. I even tried moving some of the images around—in the other book in the app, The Ugly Duckling, you can tap and drag images to the right spot—but no luck. So I don’t know what other potentially cool features this book may have.
Additionally, I think some of the questions could have been worded more clearly. I didn’t have too much of a problem with this in the first two pages of Cinderella, though there was a minor misspelling. However, I did find some of the directions in The Ugly Duckling confusing, and I imagine a child reading the book on his/her own may get frustrated.
So while I am impressed with Cinderella’s capabilities, I was a little disappointed in the execution, and I think this could be improved. I think it’d also be great if narration/read aloud were added.
On the other hand, I liked the illustrations. They were professional, and pretty, and cartoon-y in a good way. I think a child reading this book would enjoy them.
Overall, I think Stas has done a great job showing what EPUB3 can do for children’s books. Although iAuthor books are also able to have some interactivity, EPUB3 is more universal. More reading platforms will eventually be able to support it, and supposedly Kobo will support it by the end of this year, according to Stas.
I look forward to seeing more Fairy Tales for Clever Kids’ books, as well as hopefully other types of EPUB3 books, in the near future.