Ladybird Books for the digital generation

Ladybird Books, possibly the most retro-read you can share with your pre-schooler, takes a turn for the modern with the Ladybird Me Books app.

I’ve mentioned my love for Ladybird Books previously on Babyology. I love Ladybird versions of classic fairytales (told without glossing over the scary bits) and also the delightfully old-fashioned ‘Learning to Read’ series that, although the illustrations are straight from the 1950s, are still as relevant today to preschoolers as they were when they were first published.

You can now carry a little Ladybird library on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad with the release of the Me Books app. The incredible Me Books app offers a selection of some of Ladybird’s best and most popular titles from the last fifty years. And, in the perfect marriage of nostalgia and innovation, the app lets you record your own narration, character voices and sounds (or you can simply stick with the narration and sound effects provided).

None of the retro charm of the original Ladybird books is lost in the Me Books app. Notably, the original text, illustrations and even the publication detail page of the books remain untouched. There’s also thoughtful choice of narrators, a few hidden surprises when you tap the pictures (for example the extra dialogue in Goldilocks and the Three Bears) and clever use of sound and photography – the ‘books’ rest on a wooden surface, as if you were reading at a table and the pages of the books turn as you would a normal page, complete with sound effects.

The app was made by Penguin Children’s Books in partnership with Made in Me, a multimedia children’s publishing company whose work we have looked at previously on Babyology.

The Me Books app is $0.99 and comes with one Ladybird title, The Zoo. Once you have installed the app, you can shop for further titles – currently there are thirteen others available for Australian customers including fairytale classics Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Little Red Hen plus some of the very popular ‘Read it Yourself’ titles such as Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk. Additional titles are $2.99 each. All are available via iTunes.

Don’t forget to check our previous posts about apps for kids.

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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