Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
LBBYR is set to release two apps based on books one and two in Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s Caster Chronicles series, Beautiful Creatures (Dec. 2009) and Beautiful Darkness (Oct. 2010). The apps are slated to hit the App Store just before the holidays, and each will feature the electronic text of the accompanying title, new content (in the form of deleted scenes and recipes from the characters), songs, tests that challenge readers’ knowledge of the books, the audio version of the title, as well as photographs and art.
Random House Children’s Books
Judith Haut, senior v-p of communications and marketing at RH Children’s Books, said the key to children’s apps is making them “innovative and cutting edge,” especially “as competition increases.” Haut also believes that, in this area of publishing, it’s essential to makes apps that “reflect the character of the particular brand or title—remaining true to the essence of the original book.” The division’s forthcoming apps for How Rocket Learned to Read and Princess Baby are based on books or characters of the same name. The division also has a partnership with the interactive agency Smashing Ideas and is creating with them “a wide range of app projects for key authors and brands.”
With its ability to develop apps in-house and its access to nonbook properties, Scholastic is one of the leaders in the app space among the children’s houses, having created six iPhone/iPod Touch apps, and two iPad apps. A spokesperson for the publisher said the apps the publisher has made have “performed well,” noting that, at one point, the I Spy Spooky Mansion app broke into the top five apps among paid kids’ games. The spokesperson added that Scholastic continues to emphasize educational elements in its apps—the I Spy app, for example, requires users to solve riddles, and a Clifford app, Clifford’s Be Big with Words, incorporates vocabulary-building skills into a game revolving around the big red dog. Scholastic has other apps based on the 39 Clues and one called WordGirl Word Hunt.
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
S&S cited three projects when asked about its offerings for kids. One, based on The Band Book, builds off the current fad over Silly Bandz (rubber bracelets made in the shape of animals and other things). Simon Spotlight published author Ilanit Oliver and illustrator Dan Potash’s paperback in August. The accompanying 99-cent app, the Band App, which is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, creates a game with Silly Bandz in which users need to match different shapes to correctly identify a combined Silly Band. S&S has also dabbled with apps based on the Choose Your Own Adventure line, creating three apps—each is $3.99 and available for both the iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch—with Expanded Books/Expanded Apps and Choose Your Own Adventure creator Edward Packard. S&S calls the series U-Ventures, and the first app, Return to the Cave of Time, was released in late July. (The apps, which mimic the reading experience of the series—in which the author selects the path the story will follow from a handful of options—relate to stories from the original series, but not current S&S titles.) The publisher also created a game based on Tony DiTerlizzi’s middle-grade novel, The Search for WondLa, which pubbed in September. The app relies on art from the book for a “spot-the-difference” game—users are given two nearly identical images and then must find the ways in which they differ.