Perhaps my expectations are a bit too much for interactive ebooks being developed for the various mobile devices in our lives. Or maybe I made the mistake of experiencing The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore before really experiencing other ebooks and therefore, my bar has been set pretty high.
My seven-year-old son and I sat down on our iPad the other day to “read” through Cosmo’s Day Off. It was nice. It had elements where he could manipulate different elements of the screen. You touch something and it does something. You know the deal. The art was colorful. The story, eh, just so-so. In fact, afterwards, I asked my son what the book was about and he gave me this pretty blank look, as if he were wondering “did we just read a story?” instead of experiencing an app.
And that’s the difference, right? I want the technology and immersive reading elements to complement the story — in whatever form it is — and not supplant it. It’s like reading a picture book where the art is so wonderful and the writing so weak that you feel as if you are completely off balance. Cosmo’s Day Off is not quite like that, but it is missing something.
The story, such as it is, is that an alien named Cosmo has to get to work and he is late. He finally arrives to find out that it was a scheduled day off. Poor Cosmo. You can listen to the audio narration, or record and save your own (which is a nice element of this ebook, and my son loved that you could manipulate the pitch and tone of the voice. A little too much. I had to stop him at one point because I was getting tired of the shift from chipmunk voice to baritone rumble voice.)
Peace (in the books),