October 8th, 2011
Review by Miranda West
iPhone app iPad app iPod Touch app
Features: put imagination and literary skills to use and consider narrative
Production credits: Maplekey Company, LLC
Launch date: 16 July, updated 29 September 2011
Picturebook is a free iOS app that adopts a DIY approach to storytelling. The app presents our next-generation authors with a blank ebook and very little else. The budding writers must get creative and come up with their own title, characters and storyline. A couple of sample books are included to help generate ideas, and with a decent-sized image bank to draw from – including simple illustrations of Pirates, Ninjas, Cinderella and Farmyard Animals – it doesn’t take long before creative juices start to flow and a book begins to take shape.
The template provided is simple and user-friendly. Children key in their own text then drag and drop images to enhance each page. Once the book is finished, they have the option to read, go back and edit, then share with friends.
Picturebook is a fairly basic app but its simplicity is to be admired. With its pared back features, children have little choice but to put their imagination and literary skills to good use as they consider narrative, character and plot. And before long they’ve moved from passive reader to producers of their very own illustrated storybook.
Based in the Silicon Valley, Maplekey was set up less than two years ago by MIT graduate Steve Song to produce fun, useful software. For the Picturebook app he collaborated with his wife, also an MIT graduate and an ex-Google designer. Plans are underway to develop Picturebook with an Android version, sound and motion features, and picture importing, to name but a few.
For more information visit the website at www.maplekeycompany.com or follow them on Twitter: @maplekey.