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Interactive Apps like The Lost Gorilla are the Future of Children’s Books

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Children’s books hold a special place in many kids’ and parents’ hearts, but even the best of them can grate on your nerves after reading them hundreds of times. Many classic picture books, such as Goodnight Moon, are available in narrated video format, but playing videos for kids at bedtime isn’t always the best choice. New iPad apps like The Lost Gorilla – Mom, It’s Me offer something in between that’s personalized to your child.

The app allows your child to help a baby gorilla find his parents. Instead of just pointing at objects on a page, as is the case with traditional books, your child can actually be part of the story. Parents can upload children’s pictures and insert them on each of the 12 pages. You can record their voices on each page as annotations. As the gorilla searches for his parents, the reader can help the gorilla look behind bushes and other hiding spots.

Here’s a video demo of The Lost Gorilla. You can certainly see why children would be more excited about this app than a regular old book.

Some parents don’t want their kids anywhere near iPads and iPhones, but apps like this one are why I don’t mind my son using iDevices for reading and entertainment. He still shelves filled with books, with apps like these rounding out his ‘library.’ He’s also a fan of noise-making apps iShred, Virtuoso, Spotify and White Noise.

One nice thing about reading apps and books is that they’re very affordable. The Lost Gorilla app is available for $.99 in the App Store, which is a fraction of what it costs to pick up a new physical book. As a new parent, I’ve learned that physical books aren’t very durable, especially with a rough and tumble boy in the house. We’ve had to buy up to three copies of my son’s favorite books in the year since he was born, which isn’t cheap.

So what do you think? Is The Lost Gorilla a replacement for books like Goodnight Gorilla? Or are they too similar to video games for your taste?

Xavier Lanier is the publisher of Gotta Be Mobile and a photographer. He uses too many devices to count, but his current favorites are the iPhone 5s, HTC One, Nikon D800 and Sony RX 100M II. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.

2 Comments

  1. Lauren George

    03/21/2012 at 8:28 pm

    This is exciting and not only for children’s books (anyone remember hypertext fiction?), but I wonder if parents (seeing as how I’m not one myself) are concerned that the light emitted from the IPad screen will keep their little ones up late at night. From personal experience, reducing exposure to all lcd screens at least an hour before bed has greatly improved my sleep.

  2. Sam

    03/22/2012 at 7:42 pm

    I downloaded this app and I LOVE it.
    I don’t think apps can replace the physical books. However, as a mom that loves reading books to my daughters, I think that these interactive apps offer a unique and engaging experience. The fact that my daughter can see herself staring in a book and hear her own voice in the story is something that physical books just can’t provide.

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