The boys and I have been traveling the past week, first to Chicago for a few days and then on to Iowa where we are visiting my parents and enjoying a few warm summer days. (If you follow me on Instagram you are well aware of this, I’m sure!) Our trip has been great so far, but what I really want to talk about today is how we are keeping up with our reading while we’re on the road.
We’ve been taking weekly trips to the library this summer and absolutely burning through books. Part of our summer schedule includes 20 minutes of reading every day for Wyatt (he almost always reads longer though) and either Zach or I read to the kids every night before bed too. We also take breaks to all read together if the boys get cuckoo crazy or they are bickering too much. I’ve found that this is a perfect way to calm everything down and bring a little equilibrium back to our day.
I wanted to keep the momentum going on our trip, but I did not want to bring any library books along because I knew they would get lost, or fall into a swimming pool or get dropped off the top of the Sears Tower, or meet some other terrible fate. So I bought a few bargain ebooks and loaded them onto my iPad along with a new interactive book called Alicewinks that I was given for review.
This new version of Alice in Wonderland was created to celebrate the upcoming 150th anniversary of the book. It marvelously spans three centuries — the original 1865 text, images from the early part of the 20th century and some pretty sweet digital technology from the 21st century. You can choose to read the book as you would a regular ebook by swiping through the text and illustrations, or you can go with the animated version (which I personally think is a no-brainer).
The creators of Alicewinks have gone to a great deal of trouble to create a pretty special experience. They have brought paintings and drawings from 12 different illustrators to life which makes for a fun and varied visual experience. In addition, a narrator reads the text of the book while a cast of a dozen or so voice actors bring the characters to life.
I have to be honest and tell you that this book was a tough sell for my kids when I first showed it to them. I’ve always found the first chapter of Alice and Wonderland to be a bit boring and my kids apparently do too because they did not want to read this book with me when I first pulled it up on the iPad. (Augie even had a crying fit!) But when I settled in to read it myself a few nights later, the animation quickly pulled them in. When the still pictures first started moving, the kids were intrigued and tried to figure out how they animators achieved the different effects but pretty soon they just settled in to listen to the story.
At first I thought all the different Alices might confuse them. In some pictures she is blonde, in others she is brunette and, of course, each illustrator puts their own spin on her appearance. But Alice in Wonderland is such a weird and nonsensical story that the variety of styles adds to the fun and confusion (and the boys didn’t seem to even notice).
The animators also have figured out how to add interest in some of the slower parts of the book. I often find myself zoning out when characters recite poems in Alice in Wonderland (be honest — you do too!), but in Alicewinks they keep you engaged by visually playing with the words on the page in these parts. If you look at the illustration up above you can see that the words slowly spilled out over the mouse’s tail as he recited them. Cool!
I love the portable nature of ebooks and this one is no exception. I’ve pulled out the iPad several times so they can read books on our longer drives this trip but usually only one of the kids can do that at a time. Because they can watch and listen to this book, I can entertain both of them simultaneously. Woo hoo!
I also love ebooks for bedtime because the kids can listen to the story or they can fall asleep. If I’m reading a “regular” book to the kids, I have to have a light on to see the words and that light will often keep them awake even if they’re really tired. With an ebook, I turn off all the lights in the room, slide the iPad to the minimum brightness and then lay down with the kids to read the story. If they’re sleepy, they conk out really fast in the dark room. If they’re not, we get some good story time in before bed. Win-win.
In celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland, Alicewinks brings the story’s classic illustrations to life for digital audiences through animated video and rich narration. To download this one of a kind iBook, visit iTunes.com/alicewinks
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Alicewinks. The opinions and text are all mine.