Last year, Chronicle Books published this hilarious book by French author/illustrator Hervé Tullet called Press Here. It's basically an elegant and amusing picture book meditation on smart devices. Press Here
I love the simplicity of it, the humor-- and most importantly the lack of snark. It's not anti-devices, rather it works with your knowledge of devices (something that a lot of small kids have from being pacified in long lines etc with their parents' iPhones and such) to make something original.
Then, this morning, I came across Press Here: The App and had to giggle aloud at the absurdity. Really? The book that gives you the faux-device experience can now be experienced on a real device? A whole lotta meta for me.
I read on Publisher's Weekly that one of the fifteen games is table hockey with the dots. That seems a little... lazy? For a book that's so original, I would have hoped the games would be just as original too. Maybe the other fourteen are, but I must say-- most digital books/apps for kids seem to rely on the same tricks: touch something and watch it animate briefly, record yourself reading the story, play some drag and drop game... I feel like we're all still waiting for the e-book revolution in books, and by revolution I mean real change in how a story is experienced. Will it ever happen? Or will e-books remain, for the most part, just digital photocopies of books with a few bells and whistles that don't actually move the story along?
Update 6/19: A new (albeit small) study reports that kids who read enhanced digital versions of stories vs. printed stories remember significantly fewer narrative details than their physical book reading counterparts--mostly because the "enhancing" features didn't move the story along but rather, took both the kid and the parent reader out of the story experience. It concludes that digital books can be great to give reluctant readers a little push, but that if you're trying to get any literacy learning done they're not exactly ideal.