Nosy Crow and ‘Stories Aloud’

Nosy Crow are a puzzle of a publisher. On the one hand, they do the usual publisher-y things of producing and publishing some pretty nifty printed books. I’ve reviewed a few of them here on this blog before (check out Dinosaur Dig, I’m very fond of it!). On the other hand though (or should that be wing?), they’re also rather big on the new digital side of publishing that’s going on at the mo. They’ve already been producing various apps to great acclaim (which I sadly can’t use, owing to the lack of anything Apple related really, unless you count a Granny Smith. But I do want to!) and now, they’ve been busy producing easily downloadable audio readings of their picturebooks.

Image above property of Nosy Crow, not me! Please see the link at the end of this post for the related page

The project is called ‘Stories Aloud’ and I’ve had a listen to the free one on their website already and I’ve got to say – nifty idea. It all works using QR codes, those square black-and-white blocks that when you scan them using your mobile, will bring up a copy of the audio recording of the book so that you can listen to the book while you’re reading it.

I believe the idea is that children can operate the app themselves and it is fairly child friendly – I especially like the little ‘ping’ sounds telling the child when to turn the page – and the readers being children themselves is a nice touch.

The QR codes for the audio readings will be on the inside of each of Nosy Crow’s picture books, including the ever-popular Pip and Posy series written by Axel Scheffler (of Gruffalo fame). They’ll be free to listen to over a WiFi or 3G network, or 99p to download permanently via Amazon, iTunes and Google. The one I listened to is linked to at the bottom of this post – I urge you to go check it out, even if you don’t have the book in front of you.

Although the traditionalist and worrier in me squirms at the idea that parents won’t necessarily be enjoying picturebooks with their children if they can rely on apps like this, this IS a pretty cool idea. Children hankering after books don’t have to rely on busy mums and dads being able to drop everything every time and settle down for a story with apps like this, especially when they’re child-friendly too. There’s nothing to stop parents enjoying it with their children too really, helping them to anticipate the ‘ping’ sound or to see how the audio reading and the words slot together.

So yes, hats off to Nosy Crow for a neat new digital idea – keep an eye out for their QR codes the next time you spy the Crow!

Krark! Find out more here!

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