Bartleby's book of buttons is a truly unique iPad app offering. At first I didn't know what to make of it, but my 4 year old dove right in and discovered the charm of this book-game adventure. Bartleby & his obsession with buttons, is at the heart of the book, as he travels to collect even more rare buttons for his collection. In the few short pages of the book, there are tons of buttons to push and a mystery of sorts to solve on every page.
The page turn button will be red until the proper combination of buttons, levers, switches, etc. are in place, so it can be a challenge for younger readers at first. Once the challenge is met, the button will turn green to allow the story to continue. There is no narration (unusual in an interactive iPad book), so prereaders will need the text read to them, at least the first time through.
As a book-game hybrid, I like this one for those rides in the car or trips to the market, but it's not on the bedtime reading list due to it's game like elements and lack of narration. It is chock full of fun challenges and it rewards critical thinking as the child tries to solve the puzzles. It is a charming title and stands out in the market for its unique and original ways of engaging a child. I will be curious to see what Bartleby is up to in Vol. 2!
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Henrik & Denise Van Ryzin/Kit Ebersbach (Music)
10 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 4 - 8 +
Bartleby is a funny little guy who loves buttons, levers, knobs, etc. He collects his buttons in his room, where the story begins and ends. The reader needs to find the proper combination of buttons to push on each page to allow the story to continue (for instance, on the first page the text indicates that Bartleby needs his "bag, coat & bowler hat", so pushing the buttons that dress him in this outfit allows the 'red' page turning button to become 'green' so you can continue the story). Each page continues with this basic challenge, each time with new and different 'games' to play to keep the story moving. There is no audio narration, but plenty of sound effects for all the buttons. It ends with Bartleby in bed, dreaming of more buttons.