eBook Review: Cosmo’s Day Off

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),

  1. I have this book on a few iPads in the library. As much as I enjoyedit when I first read it myself, I find my students jumping ahead to the game page and playing that game for a very long time. Although the interactions are connected to the story, they almost become something separate so I am a bit disappointed in the book too. And, like you, I read Morris Lessmore early in my ebook reading and it is hard to match that quality.

    • I think I heard about Cosmo from you, Franki. It’s interesting that we both had the same sort of reaction. But, my son is fine with Cosmo. He likes it fine enough. I just want more ..

  2. Your observations remind me if George Lucas talking about movies & special effects. His point was great movies still have great stories, characters, plot development, etc.

    I hear you saying the same goes for interactive ebooks.

    Thanks for the share 🙂

    • Hi Wes
      I am saying that: if we really want to see interactive books as something new — as books that have interactive elements — then I want to start seeing those boundaries being pushed. Making an image in a static page a link to an activity doesn’t cut it for me. I am now expecting more ….

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