Every day a new headline admonishes us to minimize our children’s screen time and encourage them to play with a real toy or, more importantly, read a real book. As every parent knows, this is much easier said than done. But Little Hippo’s Augmented Reality Come-to-Life books are designed to offer the best of both worlds by combining technology and literacy.

They come with a proprietary app, Hippo Magic, which brings the magic of augmented reality to the reading experience. The reader can scan pages of a Come-to-Life book and see the characters featured on those pages come to life in a three-dimensional form on iOS and Android devices. The cost of the app is included in the price of the book. The interface is designed to enable a direct level of engagement between the child and the story.

“The augmented reality doesn’t take away anything from the fact that this is still a book. You don’t need the app to enjoy the storytelling of the book,” sales director Craig Gallo says. “What’s great is that the augmented reality is going to keep the book in the hands of children for much longer, making them want to go back again and again, with or without the app.”

CEO Albert Haug notes that augmented reality can change the reading experience for kids—especially reluctant readers. “Our Come-to-Life books are a bridge for parents and educators who are trying to bring kids back to books and reading,” he says.

Last June, four Come-to-Life titles received Parents’ Choice Fun Stuff Awards for “value priced age-appropriate products that won’t break the bank.” They retell classic fairy tales like Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood, and The Three Little Pigs, as well as other children’s favorites like The Velveteen Rabbit.

In addition to traditional tales in AR, Little Hippo titles feature the alphabet, counting, and animals. The learning aspects of these books are further enhanced by hands-on activities such as tracing letters or touch-activated exercises.

This year Little Hippo extended its Come-to-Life line with puzzles. They look like ordinary 28-piece jigsaw puzzles, but once the physical puzzles are put together, the user can scan the completed puzzle with the Hippo Magic app to see a three-dimensional scene appear over the puzzle, opening up an interactive experience similar to that of the books.

Little Hippo Books invites booksellers, librarians, and educators to stop by booth 1708 to view and experience this new form of “edutainment.”