I’m no slouch when it comes to exposing my kids to technology. I think it can be a great tool in entertaining and educating kids. I’m also a big fan of children’s books which is one reason why I review great printed books each Wednesday as part of Write a Review Wednesday.
So I was excited when Mom Central Canada gave me the chance to try My Living Stories, an interactive e-book for kids that works on your iPhone and iPod Touch (and iPad as we discovered when we experimented with the app).
Now e-books on the iPhone aren’t new, we have a few and my kids, especially my 3-year-old, love them. They are great when we’re on a road trip, waiting in the Doctor’s office or out doing grocery shopping. My Living Stories are easy to navigate and offer subtle animation and sound throughout the story to entertain kids. They are a simple page forward, page back format so there’s no worries about kids, especially young kids, getting confused or needing mom’s assistance to use the app. But the best feature about My Living Stories, what makes it stand out from other e-books, is that you can record your own narration, right on your iPhone!
Each story, which you can buy at the iTunes store for $1.99 Cdn, comes already narrated with a young child’s voice. Readers can choose to listen to the narration, listen with just the music so they can read the story themselves or read recorded narration, recorded by you or grandma or the babysitter or anyone your child would enjoy hearing the story being read from.
My 3-year-old loves hearing stories from her older 8-year-old sister so I had my oldest daughter record a story (she loved doing it). The steps are easy and can be done right on your iPhone (no need to download separate software and copy things from your computer). Just choose record and you’re set. You record each page separately and you can hear your recording after you’re done in case you want to record it again. My 8-year-old loved this. She was able to do this on her own and even added in her own sound-effects as she went along. You can record up to 4 different narrations of the same story so your child can choose from a story being read to them by mom or dad or grandma or big sister. And even though it’s the same story, each narration offers a unique feel adding extra life to the story itself.
My 3-year-old enjoyed hearing her sister reading the book and loved the little animations. We have an iPad so the story fills the screen, almost like a book in her lap, but using My Living Stories on the iPhone would be just as enjoyable and easy to use too. My 3-year-old picked up the navigation quickly and loved listening to the different audio voices. She now wants to record her own voice.
There are a lot of iPhone apps out there for kids but ones I really enjoy are the ones that make use of the iPhones technology. Having the ability to record and edit a stories narration is an amazing idea. The only issue I found with My Living Stories was the placement of the text to read when recording the story. The text appears plain, along the bottom of the page, like a script, which is fine since it’s just there for you to read. But the some words were covered by the page forward, page back arrows. At times we were guessing what the words were since we couldn’t read them. This could be a little frustrating for the person making the recording.
ITUNE GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY
The folks at Mom Central Canada and My Living Stories are so excited about their new interactive e-books for kids that they’re offering up a gift card giveaway to my blog readers. That’s you! Simply tell me which 1 of the 5 My Living Stories e-books you think your child would enjoy and who would they like to hear narrate it for them. By telling me that you’ll be entered for a chance to win one (1) $25 iTunes Gift Card (which can now be used to buy apps). Leave your comment before August 6 because after that I will be choosing one name randomly. Participants are more then welcome to enter this giveaway on other blogs (there will be a few running this same contest), however, you can only win 1 iTunes gift card. And sorry, this contest is only open to Canadian residents.
I am participating in the My Living Stories program by Mom Central on behalf of Decode Entertainment. I received 3 free apps an da gift card as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.