TumbleBooks for iPad

Susan from CLAV offered an overview of TumbleBooks in her November 11th blog post, Tumble Into Reading.  As she noted, stories, informational texts, puzzles and games are available 24/7 from any ACLA library’s website. The good news is that TumbleBooks has just announced that our patrons will be able to access the TumbleBooks picture book collection on the iPad and iPhone 4. The bad news is that so far, at least, things don’t always work quite as smoothly as they should, at least not in my limited explorations.

To get to the currently available iPad-compatible TumbleBooks, go to your library’s website on your iPad and click on the TumbleBooks link. (At CLP, you’ll find the TumbleBooks icon at the bottom of our Kids Page: http://www.carnegielibrary.org/kids/.) Click on Story Books then on the phrase “Click here for iPad-compatible titles.”

Select a title and click on the “iPad” button to launch the book of your choice. The book will appear in a small window at first. To expand, tap the “full screen” button. The books aren’t as interactive as some apps, so they may disappoint some savvy iPad aficionados. Still, it’s another way to make the engaging stories, animation and audio that TumbleBooks offers available to our users. And the fact that it’s all free should appeal to plenty of parents.

Currently there are 44 iPad books to choose from. Eventually TumbleBooks plans to create iPad content for the entire animated picture book collection by making non flash videos especially for the iPad. Unfortunately if you click on the green button that says “iPad Books” you’ll be taken to a page the features only a few of the iPad compatible titles. Hopefully that’s a glitch that will be corrected soon, but for now be aware that some users may be confused (and even cranky).

Another potential problem is that while some books played perfectly, others were quite buggy—including, ironically enough, Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective. Frequent pauses required pressing “play” repeatedly, though this may have been attributable to a weak Wi-Fi connection rather than an actual defect in the programming.

Lisa, Coordinator of Children’s Collections, CLP

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