Sourcebooks is a successful independent and woman-owned publishing house founded in 1987 by Dominique Raccah. They have made forays into many genres, including children's picture books in print and now, in digital. This app contains one free story, The Night Night Book, that is a nice example of the personalizable features offered for their collection of stories, available for in-app purchase.
The stories are (so far) all based on popular print titles and include very light animation and interactivity, along with the special touch of adding a child's name into the text of the book. The child's picture is also included on the second page, like a traditional bookplate, along with their name and the name of the person who created the book for them. There is narration included for each book, however it does not work for the personalized version of the story. The addition of recordable narration would be a nice way to increase the personalization.
Each title can also be ordered in print form from the publisher's website, which is included along with many other links to promotional materials, email, Twitter, Facebook and more. I would suggest putting these links under a secondary menu, like a parent section, or at least protected by a requirement to tap & hold the link for several seconds to prevent young children from accidentally leaving the app unintentionally.
The story included for free, The Night Night Book, is lovely and a perfect bedtime read. Each of the other stories currently available can be downloaded with a free preview which gives readers a good idea of each title's storyline. There are not very many books available, however, with only eight at the time of this review's publication. I also found that the books took a long time to download after purchase and that the prices for two of them were listed as $2.99 in the app even though I was charged $4.99 in the AppStore for them. The stories are all very high quality titles, which makes the higher prices more tolerable and once downloaded, all of the stories were stable and solid in their technical performance.
In the 'Read to Me' setting, the audio narration was lovely and includes highlighting word-for-word. Animations are sparse compared to other book apps, but are nicely tailored to the story in most cases and rarely distract from the plot or reading comprehension. The interactivity has some hints, but is otherwise so subtle it would be easy to miss and lacks the crisp response that many other iPad apps elicit. The sound effects are also sporadic, with some pages lacking anything to tap for interactive audio - I would recommend spreading these features out more evenly.
After the first read, my child found the 'enhancements' in each story we tried to be much less engaging than the story itself, meaning we ignored all 'tappable' features for the most part. The stories were engaging and enjoyable, and the personalization very sweet, making these a great choice for classroom and educational use. The expectation of a bit more 'wow' in an iPad book will not be met by these titles. However, parents, educators & librarians will be delighted to include these quality stories in their digital library and kids will enjoy all the choices, with or without enhancements, in print or digital. Recommended.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
5 - 8 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 8 +
Turn your child into the STAR of bestselling children’s books, including Elmo Loves You!
Put Me In The Story makes the most beloved picture books come alive with a cherished dedication from parent to child, your son or daughter’s name throughout the story, and fun and easy-to-use animations. Our award-winning, bestselling stories have warmed the hearts of millions before, and will continue to bring joy to parents and children through this innovative app. The magic and excitement your child will feel from the moment they see their name in the story line is a feeling every parent will love to see again and again.
Included FREE in the app is the bestselling bedtime story The Night Night Book by Marianne Richmond. This book is filled with easy-to-use animations and beautifully illustrated artwork that will bring you into the story. Kids will love seeing their name in the story, and parents will love their child’s excited reaction.
Continue the Put Me In The Story adventure with new bestselling books for purchase and personalization every month:
★ Sesame Workshop bestselling: Elmo Loves You! by Sarah Albee
★ New York Times bestselling: I Love You More by Laura Duksta
★ New York Times bestselling: My Name is Not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry
★ New York Times bestselling: Dream Big, Little Pig! by Kristi Yamaguchi
★ New York Times bestselling: My Name is Not Alexander by Jennifer Fosberry
★ Award-winning: If I Could Keep You Little… by Marianne Richmond
★ Perfect for the holidays: Santa Is Coming to My House by Steve Smallman
iPad 2nd generation and later