Upstaged by Grover

When my children were little, one of their favorite books was “Oscar’s Book.”  This is my son’s well-worn copy…a Little Golden Book.   I recently grabbed it to read to our granddaughter during a Skype visit and now it’s often requested when we talk via the computer.

One of the things that makes it such a great book to read to children is that the dialogue is SO dramatic, ironic, and just plain funny.  There is action, there is interaction with the reader, and plenty of opportunities for the adult reader to really put some “oomph” into the reading of it.

Because our little Sweet Pea has enjoyed that book so much, I wasted no time in grabbing these little child-sized books off the shelf at our local Barnes and Noble to put in her Christmas stocking.  I’m really looking forward to reading them to her, when I can pry them away from her.

This morning I was reading a computing magazine on my iPad and noticed a glowing review for a children’s application.  It was an interactive version of “The Monster at the End of this Book.”  How could I resist?  The price was right ($3.99 here in the States) so I purchased it and quickly downloaded it onto the iPad. Well then I had to give it a try, right?

What fun!  You turn the pages by clicking on an area in the bottom right-hand corner.  In case you or your little one forget, Grover will remind you.  In the meantime, Grover is animated and walks around on the pages, emoting in all his theatrical glory as he tries to get the reader NOT to get to the end of the book.  Ha!  What child could resist turning the page?

What ADULT could resist turning the page as well?  The words are highlighted as Grover speaks them in some of the “bubbles” on the pages.  For the adventurous who want to go off the beaten path, if you will, you can do other things like poke Grover and he’ll deviate from the written word and respond in ways appropriate to where you are in the story.

If you are familiar at all with the story, you know that Grover tries a lot of things to keep you from turning the pages.  The reader/child will soon discover that they can cause delightful things to happen if they do things like poke the ropes or touch the brick wall he builds.  What fun!

I have to say, though, that I found myself a little jealous of Grover.  As an actress, I’ve always loved really “getting into” a story when I’m reading it to young children.  I love doing the voices, making the sounds, and adding the side comments before turning the pages.  Now Grover was doing it all instead of me.  I was upstaged by a furry blue puppet.  Sheesh!  But you can’t keep a good thespian down and I quickly decided that there was plenty I could do in a supporting role as my Sweet Pea and I work with this application.

There is a second book available in this series called “Another Monster at the End of This Book” and I just noticed that it is available for an introductory price of $0.99 up on iTunes right now.  What a deal!  Can you guess what I just purchased?  I think there is only one downside to these two applications.  Once your little ones have had a chance to interact with them, you might never again be able to walk past them with your iPad in hand without them trailing along behind you wanting to see Grover “again.”

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Hot Flashed Funk


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