An interactive book app where kids can find lots of holes found around the world to interact with. [PLUS Interview with author/developer Poul and Kayoko]

App Name: The Book of Holes
Category: Story/Book Apps for Kids
Price: $4.99 (actual price may vary)
Download Now: iPad

The Book of Holes by Chocolate Factory Publishing

Based on the award-winning picture book of the same title, The Book of Holes is a great learning experience to help your inquisitive little ones get to know the different types of holes that exist in the world, while keeping them engaged by offering charming collage-style illustrations and whimsical interactive surprises. There are tons of holes in this book app for kids to explore and interact with, ranging from the holes of our body (e.g. nose and mouse) and things we can find around us (e.g. the sound hole of the guitar) to the universe, with noteworthy sound effects. Kids get two options to enjoy this book: “Read it myself” and “Read it to me.” Also, kids will find a “titl-to-the-hole” bonus activity on the pages as well. Althugh my kids liked to play the teeth piano included in the app, I did find something not-that-good: there’s a dog pooping through the “hole” – well, this is acceptable as it’s sort of  a lesson about digest system – but I also noticed the word “stupid” that came up with another interaction. So I suggest parents skip the pages while reading along with your kids. However, I cannot deny this book app is well made and worth the download.

In Case You Want to see all screenshots and full description

Interview with Author/Developer Poul Lange and Kayoko Suzuki-Lange at Chocolate Factory Publishing

Please note: we have no paid affiliation with this developer/author.

– Why did you decide to transform this picture book into an interactive book app?
We all know the difficult times print publishing (and especially children’s book publishing) are going through. When the print edition of The Book of Holes sold out and the publisher decided not to reprint, we saw it as an opportunity to bring the book into the exciting world of digital publishing. With all its intricate illustrations and diverse discussion topics, the book turned out to be the perfect subject for interactivity. Exploring all the fun opportunities that animation and in-app games gave us was almost like writing the book all over again.

– How long did it take you to develop this app?
It took much longer than we anticipated. Over a year. Someone has said that the first 90% of a project is easy; it’s the second 90% that is a pain. That was pretty much the experience we had. The creative, playful phase of bringing the print book into the digital realm and adding all the interactive fun… that seemed pretty easy. But then, when you think you’re almost done, all the little details need to be fixed, launch preparations and promotion planning must be done, and you find yourself spending just as much time on this phase. But this was also where we learned a lot of lessons that we can use in future projects.

– What is your favorite scene/page?
That is almost like asking, who is your favorite child? We love them all. But it seems like youngsters favor the page with the digestive system (and the pooping dog). Go figure…

– What is your favorite feature?
The sound side is something we are very proud of. With the illustrations having such a handmade and vintage look, we decided that we wanted to stay away from the digitally generated sound effects you often find in children’s apps. So we hooked up with a very talented “voice acrobat,” Zero Boy, who made all the sounds using only his mouth and vocal cords. It made the process more cumbersome, but we really feel it was worth the extra effort. To watch a kid tapping an illustration (like the alien on the universe page) over and over, to hear the crazy sound it makes, is our payoff. But we are also happy about the little games (like rearranging the features of a face) that we managed to sprinkle throughout the book without breaking the narrative.

– Kayoko, the co-founder, says that she has “been thrilled at how it (the app) really gets them (parents and their kids) talking.” – It looks like you have some stories to share?
We made a little video about the app (https://vimeo.com/70792209), showing Zero Boy talking to a group of kids about holes and The Book of Holes. It was so much fun to watch how far around the subject the conversations ventured. We like to see the app as a starting point for talks between kids and parents, just like the best traditional children’s books are. A special-needs teacher from England contacted us to tell us what a great tool the app is in her daily work. To hear stories like that makes us feel we succeeded in our efforts.

– What age group would this book app best suit?
That’s a hard question to answer. We did not create the story or app with one age group in mind. It was made with our own childhood memories as a starting point. In other words, we were catering to our own inner children rather than trying to calculate what kids of a certain age want or “need.” Having heard comments from kids, parents, and reviewers, we feel that this approach has broadened the range of appeal. Kids from ages 2-8 seem to be a good primary target group, but apparently parents (and reviewers) also get a kick out of the app. We were very proud to get a “starred review” from Kirkus Reviews, which is the highest honor from a very “grown-up” publication.

– Are you working on any new educational apps for kids?
We have a lot of ideas and big plans, but they’re a bit early to reveal. Stay tuned.

– Anything else you’d like to add?
The app is on sale right now for $2.99. Get it today!