Kids who cut their teeth on PCs in the early 1990s will fondly remember Living Books from Broderbund Software. For millions of kids around the world, Living Books was their first interactive experience. Engaging stories with clickable words and drawings captivated the first generation of on-screen readers. These classic titles were retired and collecting dust – until now, that is.
Wanderful, a new interactive book company, has dusted off some familiar favorites: Arthur’s Teacher Trouble by Marc Brown, Little Monster by Mercer Mayer, and the fable of The Tortoise and the Hare, with the promise of more to come. The content has been app-ified to run on iPhone/iPad, Android, and Windows platforms. iPhone and iPad will be out by the end of June; the other platforms to follow.
Wanderful is promising more titles added to the franchise soon, including Stan & Jan Berenstain’s Berenstain Bears, more of Marc Brown’s Arthur the Aardvark, and others. Each app is available in three versions: a single language edition is $4.99 (extra languages can be added for $1.99 each) and a premium edition for $7.99 which includes materials for teaching.
In case you’re wondering where Living Books was sequestered for the last decade, it was part of Houghton Mifflin, who sold the rights to Wanderful. We’re still waiting to hear where the Carmen Sandiego and KidPix series turn up.
Mark Schlicting, one of the original members of the Living Books team, has been involved in porting the old stories to their new homes. “These stories will never be dated,” says Mark, “and they sold millions of copies each at a time when each cost significantly more money and there were much fewer installed devices to play them on”. More than a simple port, the new apps have enriched content and animation. This is a great test of the staying power of a good story across generations. To hear Mark speak about ebooks on a panel at Kids@Play at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2012, click here. And Wanderful is also on Facebook, as well as Twitter: @Wanderfulbooks