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Old 09-05-2013, 03:07 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Should children tip their hats to a digital Dr. Seuss?

Gather 'round, people, perk up your ears, for tales of Dr. Seuss. Born Theodor Seuss Geisel, the man is perhaps the world's most-loved creator of rhyming children's books, known for such masterpieces as "The Cat in the Hat" and "Green Eggs and Ham." And he's going digital. Random House announced (PDF) Wednesday that 41 of Dr. Seuss stories will come out as e-books, starting on September 24.

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Each of the forthcoming Random House Children’s Books ebooks will preserve Dr. Seuss’s original layouts and the beloved illustrations from their print editions. They also will be published simultaneously as Read & Listen editions that feature brand-new audio recordings of the full text.

“Random House Children’s Books and Dr. Seuss Enterprises have been publishing partners for decades. I am so pleased to announce the start of an exciting new chapter in our long and thriving relationship, as we embark on expanding the Dr. Seuss reading experience together with ebooks,” says Marcus [President & Publisher, Random House Children’s Books]. “We are delighted that today’s parents, their children, and educators can now add Dr. Seuss’s classics to their digital bookshelves, joining the cherished hardcovers that we have all grown up with.”
I'm usually more tech-obsessed than traditionalist; yet, in this regard, I find it difficult to see how Dr. Seuss e-books will offer any advantage over their board book counterparts. Board books are practically indestructible. They come in convenient child size, and they can be bend, dragged, washed, sucked and thrown without much damage. Basically, they are the first books a child is really allowed to possess and explore in a concrete sense. You think that'd work with an e-book reader? Unless your e-reader comes equipped with a serious rugged case that protects it from being chewed or dropped or thrown, I'd worry. I'd probably worry so much about my device being wrecked that unwillingly I'd take all the fun away from my kid to explore Dr. Seuss stories.

But you're obviously free to disagree vehemently.

Last edited by Alexander Turcic; 09-05-2013 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 09-05-2013, 04:10 AM   #2
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Usually children's books are not only sold to people who'd like to give them to kids, but people who'd like to remember their own childhood, too. I think this E-Books are interesting for the second group. Printed books like this are usually given to kids as a present by relatives or by friends of the family, I don't think that this will change.
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Old 09-05-2013, 04:15 AM   #3
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Digital all the way. Time to switch the kids over.
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Old 09-05-2013, 07:40 AM   #4
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Presumably these are the successor to the nifty ``Living Books'' which used to be marketed on CD-ROM --- rather fond of those, and still have some from when the kids were young.

The animation and interaction work well and are usually quite clever and sometimes are a real addition / insight to the story.

It'd've been interesting if Theodor Geisel had anticipated such options and created some storyboards for such, but I (and my kids!) were very pleased w/ the digital versions.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alvina View Post
Usually children's books are not only sold to people who'd like to give them to kids, but people who'd like to remember their own childhood, too. I think this E-Books are interesting for the second group. Printed books like this are usually given to kids as a present by relatives or by friends of the family, I don't think that this will change.
I know I loved them as a young child. I drove my mother crazy with the books when we'd go to the public library (she had to read them to me and found the words in the rhymes sometimes complex). I never really had a collection of the good Dr's books when I was little so I had to make do with library books. I agree with alvina. A lot of people who grew up with his books will probably buy them. Of course even when a child has grown a bit and is reading more complex stories they might still harbor a hidden love for the good Dr's books, and being able to carry them round on an ereader will be a plus for such kids who fear being caught reading a book that is for 'babies.'
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:02 AM   #6
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I can see the digital version for travel and the like. We are pretty limited in the number of books we bring for DB on vacations and I get really tired of reading the same 10 board books over and over. And trust me, DB loves re-reading the books. Loves it.

That said, I would not use them at home. At 14 months, DB does not necessarily want all the words read, he likes flipping through the book and just looking at the pictures. He has favorite pages (the Saturday he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice cream cone, one pickle, one piece of swiss cheese, one sausage, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one cupcake in the Very Hungry Catapillar is his current favorite page) that he wants to flip to and point at things.

I can see a combo of board books and e-books when he is three or so and actually interested in the story. Right now, he has favorite images and pages (Panda Bears are currently in vogue) and he wants to go to those pages fast.

There really is a difference between a 1 year old and a 2 year old and a 3 year old. Every parent knows this but people without kids are not quite as aware.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillAdams View Post
Presumably these are the successor to the nifty ``Living Books'' which used to be marketed on CD-ROM --- rather fond of those, and still have some from when the kids were young.

The animation and interaction work well and are usually quite clever and sometimes are a real addition / insight to the story.

It'd've been interesting if Theodor Geisel had anticipated such options and created some storyboards for such, but I (and my kids!) were very pleased w/ the digital versions.
They're actually re-releasing all those under the new Wanderful brand. I still have my originals in my drawer. They're not doing the newer ones yet due to copyrights needing to be sorted out, but most of the original set of titles have been out for awhile now for OS X, iOS, and Android.

Last edited by Jessica Lares; 09-05-2013 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:17 AM   #8
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Do you want to cultivate in your young children a love of BOOKS or a love of ELECTRONICS? We, as adults, understand that ebooks are "real" books, but I think that board books and colorful picture books are crucial to indoctrinating a love of books and reading in young children. The lure of TV and other electronics is always going to be there; no indoctrination needed.

I could see these digital versions playing an adjunct role (let's hope they are in the Kindle Match program!!). For example, a kid who is already obsessed with the Cat in the Hat and has just asked his mom to read it to him for the 15th time that day (it happens). She might appreciate an electronic minder who can do the job for her. But only after she has read it many times herself; that's where he got the love of it in the first place!

In order to get the colors and the reading aloud, you would have to have these on a tablet. I suppose it's theoretically possible to introduce a tablet to your child... and ONLY use it for ebooks, never letting them see Angry Birds. But really, how long until you let them play ONE round of Angry Birds? Then which do you think your child is going to want to do?

Anyway, all this is just the age old "are ebooks good or bad for young children?" Ebooks for young children are already out there, each parent has to decide whether and how much. So, if you've already decided that ebooks are appropriate for your young child, why not go for the best: Dr Suess?

eP
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:34 AM   #9
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Reading a book to my three year old on an e-reader is a fail. It's not big enough for the pictures or colour for that matter and he pulls the reader closer to him so I can't read the page. All in all it's a fail for me. They could work as PDFs on a tablet, but then I'd figure he would get sucked into Zoo Train or Angry Birds before reading. Tablets and phones are just so intuitive for pressing buttons and exploring that using it for books only would really be just opening up a fight. That's not a battle I'm going to go start.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elemenoP View Post
Do you want to cultivate in your young children a love of BOOKS or a love of ELECTRONICS?
How about a love of content?

I'm all in favor of giving young children (3~4 years) their own tablets.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:41 AM   #11
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Yeah, no on the 3-4 year old their own tablet. Not gonna happen.

There is a ton of well priced content for kids books that are in the paper form. Children learn more then just a love of reading from physical books. They develop fine motor skills from turning the pages and opening the flaps. They develop gross motor skills by carrying them (or throwing them or pushing them). The books end up with food on them (DB loves to take a book with him when having his milk or going down for a nap).

In this case, the physical nature of a book is actually very important. Never mind the cost of replacing a tablet when the kid tosses it into the tub or dog bowl or down the stairs or against the wall.

I have no problem with DB using an e-reader or a tablet to read when he gets to chapter books. Trying to replicate the reading experience with my 14 month old, or any of the 3-4 year olds I know, would be, in my opinion, foolish.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:47 AM   #12
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Actually most Dr. Seuss books are NOT board books. I can tell you that from my aquired expertise in taping the pages of many of them back together. They are fairly lengthy and advanced as far as children's books go. Well-suited for electronic form. Fox in Socks is especially ideal for for a reader, that book literally has made my tongue hurt.

They are not typically books kids learn to read on. Rather they are books to read to kids. For that, e-books work fine. Turning a page or swiping a screen, I personally don't think the difference is that great or important.

Last edited by pl001; 09-05-2013 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:58 AM   #13
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There are board books for Dr Seuss. They are mainly the younger beginner books like Hop on Pop and not Green Eggs and Ham, the Cat and the Hat and the like. Most kids don't get into those until they are closer to four or a bit older.

Board books for the 6 month to 2 year old crowd are suppose to have big pictures and few words. We violate the few words rule with many of the books but that is ok. Most of the wordier ones we read once and then spend a lot of time flipping through the pages, pointing at pictures, and giggling. You add more words as the kid is ready for them and has the attention span to listen to them. That will vary from kid to kid.
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:13 AM   #14
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Many of the board book versions are also abridged in one way or another.
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:17 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Actually most Dr. Seuss books are NOT board books. I can tell you that from my aquired expertise in taping the pages of many of them back together. They are fairly lengthy and advanced as far as children's books go. Well-suited for electronic form. Fox in Socks is especially ideal for for a reader, that book literally has made my tongue hurt.

They are not typically books kids learn to read on. Rather they are books to read to kids. For that, e-books work fine. Turning a page or swiping a screen, I personally don't think the difference is that great or important.
Yeah, I stated that originally in my post but edited it out. There's even a picture of one of these in Alexander's original post. Those are the ones my friends and I were reading back in the day.

And yeah, I agree, these aren't the books you learn to read on. They're simple, but they contain big vocabulary that 3-4 year-olds aren't ready for. They use these books with 7 year-olds even.
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