A book on a tech blog? That’s a little bit of a stretch especially when the content of the book isn’t tech related. However, in this case, the book is the tech! Or at least provides an avenue to the tech. The Boy With His Head Stuck in a Book is a book featuring Augmented Reality. A charming tale with a novel approach however not without its flaws.
There is a lot more going on behind the publication of the book than meets the eye as you can imagine the creative elements here are being divided pretty heavily. With writing, artwork and the technologic influence, there is a lot going on behind the scenes of the book.
At around 30 pages in total, The Boy With His Head Stuck in a Book isn’t a long read, only around 14 pages contain readable text, and as a kids book, this is plenty. The other pages a filled with exciting artwork doubling with interactive canvases to display the Augmented Reality.
The Augmented reality here adds a richer experience to the pop-up books of old. Colourful and filled with sound. Whilst, not cartoons, this adds the feel of a cartoon to book experience and some parents might not be too enthusiastic about that. Using technology from Zappar, aiming a phone at one of the tags brings the picture to life and a button appears. Pressing the on-screen button plays a short 5-second animated sequence that brings the picture to life, music and sound effects ring out for the few seconds before the imagery.
The Augmented Reality brings an impressive look to the artwork. Moving the phone a little, whilst the short animations are playing, makes you realise there is a whole 3d aspect to the images. The artwork is layered much like a stage play of old with foreground and background pieces moving in opposite directions creating the feeling of depth. It’s incredibly well done.
The Boy With His Head Stuck In A Book is a simple story of a boy adventuring though several other literary works from various periods of history, from King Arthur to The Wind In The Willows and The Iron Giant. My four-year-old does not know most of the stories however he is able to deduce that Sherlock Holmes is a detective and looks forward to the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park. The story is entertaining, not complicated and well written. Some of the word use is a little old school, however, I am pleased to hear him ask what something means and repeating it days later in conversation.
One consideration of the book is the layout and approach. As a bedtime story, the book is hard work for the parent. You will have to hold the book in one had and your phone in the other. You child will be pressing the button on the phone to animate the picture whilst you struggle to make out the text on the adjoining page, the font is a little small., especially for dimmed lighting. Also staring into the phone screen before bed is not something most parents are happy with. My son loves the book, however, I have found myself making excuses to read a more traditional book at bedtime.
The Boy With His Head Stuck In A Book is for sale on Amazon for £5.99.