This week, I used this app in a blog post about the difference (or lack thereof) between iBooks (or eBooks) and the new digital category of "book apps". The Rocket app is a quirky and high-quality public domain storytelling experience that began in print in 1912, by Peter Newell. It is useful to demonstrate how different an app and eBook presentation can be on the touch tablet, particularly as an illustration of the point that an app can even be less interactive, although more flexilble in design.
As an app, this title is not only free, but also delightfully presented. It takes an original story from the turn of the last century and makes it accessible to new audiences in the 21st century, which is no small accomplishment. This app has no interactivity, however it is the light animation, unique page turning (up and down rather than side to side) and flexibility of the app design that gives the story it's modern appeal. The reader gets to travel up through the floors of the apartment building, just as the original author imagined, only in a much more impactful way than was possible in print in the early 1900s. This alone improves the storytelling in a way that is difficult to approximate in print or properly explain to digital natives who know of no other way to tell stories.
For comparison, I used the exact same title as presented via iBooks under the title: The Rocket Book - Interactive Read Aloud Edition https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/rocket-book-interactive-read/id593174922?mt=11. What is exceptional about this comparison is that the iBook is 'interactive' in the most salient way (in this case a button to tap to release an image of a bullet/rocket that moves through each floor. Yet the iBook still fails to achieve the storytelling experience possible in this app that has limited it's enhancments to the bare minimum possible in the app world. I would call the effects 'understated' at best ... but they still can run circles around the overall impact of the iBook.
I still have trouble defining the difference between the different formats, but I can say this without hesitation ... apps allow for whatever enhancement a story may be demanding, but they also allow for much more and can lead content creators into a world of temptation that has no upper limit for cost of production. Remember the goals and overall mission of your story ... and then tell it to the best of your ability given the format. For The Rocket Book, the sky was the limit, literally!
This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
6 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 9
The famous animated interactive book with unique 3-dimensional scenes and great narration. The new technology of 3-D scene gives a depth to picture, because all of parts and characters move like in 3D cinema.
It is a book about the upward progress of a rocket, lit in the basement by the janitor's son, causes some strange situations as it passes through 20 floors of apartments!
For navigation use swipe. Application supports horizontal and vertical device orientation. Developed for iPad.