The “Wind in the Willows” App Review

The Wind in the Willows is one of those timeless classics that has survived generations – and now it is being brought to today’s children via an app for iPad and iPhone.

One of the things we all remember about the book is the beautiful illustrations – they have been drawn by many different artists over the years, including Ernst Shepherd and Arthur Rackham. But for the new apps they have been beautifully redrawn by by world renowned muralist Steve Dooley.

Wind-in-the-Willows

He found inspiration in what Kenneth Grahame said to the original illustrator back in 1908. “I love these little people,” he said, “so please be kind to them,”

“It’s a message which I took very much to heart, myself,” says Steve. “These characters were loved into existence.”

In order to bring the drawings to life technical magic was needed in the form of Bobby Gilbert who would spend hours researching the minutiae of each and every page.

“I spent a long time researching bumblebee flight to get them as beautiful and captivating as Steve’s drawings,” says Bobby.

“We fell under the spell of the book – its characters, its humour, the wonderful eccentric lyricism of the words. It absorbed us; we had to do justice to it.”

The apps feature 190 interactive pages, where the user can drive Toad’s car, crash it into cliffs, conjure up butterflies, throw stones off a bridge to sink Toad’s boat and much more.

It’s quite magical, and for anyone who wants to bring the magic of a favourite childhood book to their own children, while reliving a familiar tale themselves, this is the ideal way to do it. A real treat to enjoy together – and something to while away a few hours on a cold and wet wintry afternoon.

For more information and links to the App Store, where the app is available to buy for $6.99, head to www.TheWindInTheWillowsApp.com .

Top 5 eReader Accessories

Light, portable and able to fit over 1,000 books at a time, it’s no surprise that eReaders are a huge hit. With more users, models and books available for eReaders than ever, the number of accessories you can purchase to go with these handy gadgets has also grown.

We’ve compiled a list of the top five eReader accessories that will keep your reader safe from bumps, scratches and splashes, and give you the chance to personalise your device.

eReader-accessories-

Case

A case is a must for any eReader and with plenty of options on the market that are both stylish and functional, there’s no excuse not to keep your device protected.

If you haven’t already purchased a case for your eReader, you can do so from the manufacturer themselves. Alternatively, if you’re feeling creative, you can find plenty of tutorials for DIY eReader cases online, which range from fairly simple cases made from mailing envelopes to hand-crafted creations that are more complex.

Light

Devices that use e-ink are better for your eyesight in the long-term, however the lack of a backlit screen means that, just like reading the pages of a book, you need a decent light source. Luckily, you can now purchase clip-on lights especially for eReaders. These are just like clip-on lights for books and enable you to read in the dark without disturbing those around you.

Clip-on lights are available for Kindle, Kobo and Sony eReaders. Amazon also stocks a range of cases that have integrated LED reading lights for different brands of eReader.

Waterproof bag

A waterproof bag isn’t so necessary if your eReader is staying in the sunny UK, but if you plan to take it abroad, it’s a must. Waterproof bags can help protect your device not only from deadly splashes and accidental drops, but also from sand, which can wreak havoc with electronics.

Waterproof eReader bags and cases are available in most major travel shops and from online retailers.

Sleeve

A sleeve is similar to a case, except instead of covering the outside of your eReader like a book cover, it is a similar design to a laptop case. Sleeves can be more decorative than cases and can help protect the whole screen. They are, however, less effective at protecting your device from hard knocks than a hardcover case.

Decal

A decal is the same as a vinyl skin – it doesn’t protect your device (except maybe from light surface scratches), but it lets you customize your eReader and make it unique to you. Online marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy have a range of skins available for popular brands of eReader like Kindle and Kobo.

Electronic Dictionary Bookmark : e-reading functionality in an analogue world

I’m a sesquipedalian. If you need to look that up don’t worry – it means I’m a prentious fool (more technically it means I’m given to using long words but they are pretty much one and the same). Whilst other kids had friends and sporting activities to busy themselves with, I spent countless hours nose deep in books and a good deal of that time was spent deciphering phrases my inchoate vocabulary had yet to acquire in large, unweildy dictionaries (this was in the old days when all the words in the world didn’t reside on a internet connected phone in my pocket). One of the best things about e-readers is the ability to quickly look up words without really leaving the text – really handy for complex academic works, but also useful when the occassional bon mots throws you in a novel.

Electronic-Dictionary-Bookmark

Bringing some of the joy of the e-reading experience to the paper novel, the new Electronic Dictionary Bookmark is a much easier way to help you out if you are suddenly stumped by the meaning of etiology, bromide or abjure in a story without loosing track of where you are or detracting too much focus from the book in hand.

The tiny bookmark has been crammed full of 38,000 definitions from the Collins Gem English Dictionary 15th edition so you will never be lost for words again. As you’d hope, it’s really easy to use. When you come across a word you don’t know, simply press the power button to begin, type in your word on the keypad and press OK to find out what it means.

The Electronic Dictionary Bookmark comes in a choice of three colours (pink, white, and grey) and is thin enough to slip unobtrusively between most books.

The Electronic Dictionary Bookmark is available to buy for £19.95 at www.gizoo.co.uk or by calling 0800 376 4818.

Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime App

For parents whose job forces them to travel or who have split up from their partner leaving their young children behind, bedtime can be particularly painful. The thought of not being able to tuck their child up safely in bed and reading them a bedtime story can be an excruciating ordeal to bare for many a forlorn parent absent from the family home, albeit temporarily or permanently.  This intense anguish could, however, be significantly eased with the Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime app, new iPad and iPhone technology that allows parents to read a bedtime story to their children even if they are on the other side of the world.

StoryTime-App

“In a frantic modern world where business trips, expeditions and sometime separations draw parents further from their children, ‘Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime’ brings them back together. This is the first true revolution in bedtime stories for over five hundred years,” Chris Stevens, CEO Atomic Antelope

Created through collaboration between Atomic Antelope, inventors of last year’s highly successful Alice for the iPad app, and ustwo, designers of the equally as stimulating Granimator and MouthOff apps, this pioneering new app, is the first interactive book to feature the new StoryTime technology – a system which transforms iPads or iPhones into remote reading devices.

Absent parents need no longer worry about their beloved offspring forgetting the sound of their voice, as this magical interactive book, with which children can play with many classic nursery rhyme characters, such as Jack and Jill, Humpty Dumpty and the Three Blind Mice, whilst listening to their parent reading the story to them from anywhere in the world.

Having the unique potential to develop and strengthen relationships between parents and children, it is of little wonder that ustwo and Atomic Antelope and excited about the new app.

“Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime is without a shadow of doubt the most wonderful interactive publishing ever seen on the iPad,” says Mills, the ustwo co-founder. Whilst we probably wouldn’t go that far, if for whatever reason, you find yourself departed from your children at bedtime, why not take advantage of the Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime app and download it for £2.39 from the app store?  

Enhanced Editions: Sarah Silverman’s The Bedwetter iPhone ebook

You might be aware of US comedian Sarah Silverman. She had a brief stint on Saturday Night Live and can be seen on Mr Show, The Larry Sanders Show and loads of little guest shots on shows such as Seinfeld and movies such as “I Want Someone to Eat Cheese” with (Jeff Garlin’s movie for anyone curious about what Curb Your Enthusiasm would look like without Larry David). Very much a member of the US alternative comedy scene, her HBO special, “Jesus is Magic” and her Comedy Central show “The Sarah Silverman Program“, which featured her teaming up with Rob Scrab, author of the amazing “Scud the Disposable Assassin” comic.

The-Bedwetter

Which is all very well and good but what does that have to do with gadgets? Well Sarah Silverman has released an iPhone app for her autobiography The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee (she’s enuretic). Brought to you by Enhanced Editions, the app eschews the e-reader and tablet markets and focuses on the smartphone – a device which in all probability you’ll always have with you. Enhance Editions ensure that the text is properly formatted for the smaller phones screen, with easily navigable chapters, adjustable fonts and searchable text.

The app also doubles up as an audiobook, which Sarah Silverman reads and performs, where necessary. The audio book is broken up by chapter, with a time remaining and a simple navigation bar. It’s not as good as a Kindle, or even an iPad and the 441 MB app doesn’t even appear to be adjusted to work on the magic tablet, bar the horrible 2* scaling that technically works but that is wholly unsatisfying. But if you are hanging out on your iPhone, the reading experience is better than it would be on the standard iBooks app and having the audio book bundled makes it worth the price of admission (which is about £10). Plus there are a few app-only extra videos, and a little Sarah Silverman newsfeed.

But is it any good? Well if you enjoy any of her work (and you should definitely check out the Sarah Silverman Program), and her curious mix of surrealism, word play and shock humour then you should definitely check it out.

The Adventures of Simon Pegg: A digital comic for Android, iPhone and the iPad

You’re scared of mice and spiders, but oh-so-much greater is your fear that one day the two species will cross-breed to form an all-powerful race of mice-spiders, who will immobilize human beings in giant webs in order to steal cheese.

Lines like that made a generations of young adults fall in love with writer, actor, comedian and all round lovely-chap Simon Pegg, star of Spaced, Big Train, Sean of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. And How to Win Friends and Influence People, but we don’t like to talk about that.  The titular hero now has his own £.179 iPad/iPhone/Android app chronicling his comic adventures.

Simon-Pegg-iPad-app

Taken from the pages of his recently released autobiography Nerd Do Well (which it essentially advertises but in a fun and original way) The Adventures of Simon Pegg is digital comic, with full screen or panel-by-panel navigation. If you’ve not read a digital comic before I should point out they are pretty much perfect on tablets. A little too niche to describe as a “killer app” for tablets maybe, but it’s magic being able to have all of “The Authority” or “Scud the Disposable Assassin” in the palm of your hand. Full screen comics are great, and panel by panel (in some cases) can really bring a

The app also features character biographies with lots of details on Pegg’s alter-ego, his faithful robotic manservant Canterbury and the flame haired French cat burglar The Scarlet Panther.  Other added content includes wallpapers, which you can use as background for you phone (or just gaze at).   There is also a bit more info on Mr Pegg, a free sample chapter from Nerd Do Well.

There are also lots of sharing options that enable readers to share single panels via email, Facebook Connect or Twitter – something which is also pretty cool. There is also a shortcut to following Simon Pegg on  Twitter – but if you’ve gone through all the trouble of downloading an app then you probably already have  that. £1.79 from a Marketplace or App store near you.