Finebooks Review of TFGG
Illustrated App, Tales for Great Grandchildren, from JJ Books
London–Independent publisher JJ Books is proud to announce the launch of ‘Tales for Great Grandchildren’, the app (for iPad), which they believe will set a new standard for children’s illustrated book applications.
Author John Jackson wrote this enchanting collection of 13 folk and fairy tales after trekking through northern India and Nepal. He has recreated a world of flying turtles, truculent tigers and talking lotus flowers. There’s even a man-eating giant who has his eye on a shepherd girl! The app is aimed at children 7-12 years.
The app builds on the success of the original hardback version published in October 2011 as a limited edition. Bound in buckram, block printed and hand-bound, the book was produced using the same methods and attention to detail used to create the earliest illustrated gift books by Rackham and Dulac in the glorious ‘Golden Age’. It is listed on Amazon at £29.99.
John, 82, who is the chairman of the high profile solicitors, Mishcon de Reya, is a polymath. He is not only an established author but a lawyer, a businessman, and a political and constitutional campaigner, who is probably still best known as a founder of the Countryside Alliance.
He set up JJ Books last year because he is passionate about publishing beautiful books using traditional methods, but he is also enthralled by the potential of digital delivery. ‘An illustrated hardback book is a luxury item, as it was at the turn of the twentieth century. With the emergence of the iPad, we found a format that would allow us to transform our books so that they can be enjoyed by everyone,’ Mr Jackson said.
‘Tales’ is JJ Books’ first app. Mr Jackson said the challenge was to communicate the beauty and quality of the book in digital form while making sure that ‘none of the magic’ was lost. ‘I didn’t want to do anything that was any less beautiful than a nineteenth century children’s book,’ he said.
‘We put the same effort into the app that we put into the book, and where possible, we wanted to enhance it. We have held the digital technology to the same superior standards that we have brought to print.’
The acclaimed illustrations by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini, including 13 full watercolour plates, have been animated. Daniela worked closely with the app developers to make sure that the richness of the Indian jewel colours and the dazzling details were fully realised, down to the elephant’s eyelashes. She is ‘thrilled and delighted’ with the result.
The app will delight children and adults who will appreciate its artistic approach. There are no bells and whistles here; the stories and illustrations speak for themselves. There is the great thunder of hooves as elephants, rhinoceroses and all their friends from the forest run for their lives from ‘The End of the World’. In the ‘Hole in the Roof’ a hideous giant sleeps after a heavy ‘man’-made meal, his snores gently lifting his blood-spattered blanket. The sadness of a grieving elephant and the quiet beauty of a princess bride are captured in ‘Lovely One’.
The ‘Tales’ are narrated by John, himself a grandfather of five and a great grandfather of two, with great character, warmth and wit. There is also a Read Alone function so that children can read alone or with their parents.
The app format enables JJ Books to offer readers additional material on the background to the book. ‘Tales Behind the Tales’ is a chapter of extras which includes two short ‘making of’ films featuring John and Daniela titled ‘Inspiration Behind the Tales’ and ‘The Illustrative Journey.’
The app was developed by Digital Leaf (www.digitalleaf.co.uk). Co-founder, Neil Jeffries, said it was ‘refreshing to create an app using the latest technologies but which still stays true to the original hardback book’.
‘It is important that children’s apps are educational as well as entertaining. This app is intelligent, interesting and beautifully simple. It’s the winning combination of Daniela’s stunning illustrations, John’s distinctive voice and the Tales’ exotic characters,’ Mr Jeffries said.
‘This is one app that adults and children will want to read together over and over again, just for the sheer pleasure of it.’
The app will be available on the App Store from 28 February 2012. The free download includes ‘Introducing the Tales’, ‘The Hole in the Roof’ and bonus material. Further tales are priced at 69p (99¢) each or £4.99 ($6.99) for a bundle containing all 12 tales and additional bonus material. ‘Tales for Great Grandchildren’ will also be available on iTunes as an iBook priced at £3.99 ($5.99).