Ladybird launches ebook app for babies
The Guardian reports that the Baby Touch series, aimed at children as young as six months, has been adapted for the iPhone and iPod .
As of today, it won’t be just the parents of toddlers who have to wrestle with their children for their iPhone. Babies as young as just six months old can now be introduced to the world of ebook apps, with Ladybird’s popular Baby Touch Peekaboo series going digital.
Penguin’s app for the Baby Touch books went live at Apple’s digital store last week, for download onto the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.
It uses four stories from the Baby Touch series of tactile playbooks designed to allow babies to experience their different cloth textures while also opening flaps to uncover images hidden underneath.
The digital version, which has been tested on babies from three to 18 months, uses similar bold patterns and bright colours to engage its tiny readers on the themes of the sea, farms, animals and vehicles. The parent, or the baby itself, can tap on the screen to reveal secondary images hidden underneath the designs.
The app can’t emulate the board books’ different textures, but instead incorporates animation, voiceover, music and sound effects.
Ladybird editorial director Heather Crossley said the app had been designed to reflect the various different stages of baby development. The “gentle” movement of characters on the screen aimed to suit the tracking eye movements of very young babies in the first stages after they learn to focus, while the screen-tapping of the app encourages the six-month-old baby to develop his or her attention span and motor skills.
Anna Rafferty, head of Penguin’s digital division, said that while the publisher already had experience of developing its Spot the Dog and Peppa Pig apps for slightly older children, an app for babies had posed new technical challenges. “We had to make the touch area much bigger, because babies don’t always hit the spot exactly, and we slowed down the action, because babies take a bit longer to press the screen, and to be delighted by the image underneath,” she said. But Rafferty foresaw a promising new market for the baby apps. “We certainly have a very healthy baby book list that does very well, so we’re interested to see how this goes,” she said. “From the research, you actually can engage very well with very young babies.”