I remember the books as a kid that had some sort of interaction with them. Usually tabs you could pull to pop up a tree or make someone’s tail wag or sometimes, change an image in a window by having the “blinds” change. All sort of fun – all quickly breaking.
This version of The Three Pigs brings back that style of book, with a twist only technology could provide. They have built it with an x-ray vision toggle, that let’s you see how the interactions are done – without breaking the page of the book. It’s a great use of “interaction” in these new electronic books. Instead of mindless zapping and sound effects, you can see how these actions you take create the visual effects.
The cover works too – if you compare our screenshot to the one in iTunes, you’ll see that we’ve rotated the gears around so that “and the secrets of a” part aren’t aligned right. That was enough to get us excited about the book.
Sal and I had a great time reading the book, as well as exploring the machinery behind it all. He had just done a science fair project on gears so just on the first page of the book, where you get to see the gears turning away, he was drawn to the topic. And it’s lots of fun at each page to make guesses about the mechanisms used on each page to create the effects and the pros and cons of each implementation. Some seemed like overkill to us, but was interesting to wonder about why they were so complicated. And later in the book, he was pretty good at identifying the types of machinery used to create the different motions.
It’s one of my favorite book implementations yet and worth the $3.99 price tag, because you get so much more out of the interactions. It’s like an introduction to physics and contraption building and can be used a platform for a lot of imaginative discussion as you look at other things in the real world and wonder how they’re built.