I always have an interest for books that are a bit quirky and provocative. For example, about four months ago I reviewed a book app entitled All about Poop. Just as you'd imagine, the book covers everything about poop, potty training, and other related subjects. While some parents may consider it a bit vulgar, I'd say it's appropriately designed for the goal and the audience.
Today, I will discuss a brand new book app that's also quite provocative. Entitled The Book of Holes, it's an adaptation of a book of the same name released in 2006. The author, Poul Lange, joined with Kayoko Suzuki-Lange to form Chocolate Factory Publishing and released an interactive app based on the book's contents.
12 Pages of Holes
As one might guess from the title, The Book of Holes tries to introduce the concept of holes using text, questions, illustrations, and interactions. The book spans 12 pages, and unlike conventional books its contents are laid out in a whimsical and fun way. There is also an interactive scene on every page in which you can play with various items.
The book starts with a definition of a hole: "A hole is nothing with something around it". It then continues to provide many examples in subsequent pages, such as a baby's mouth or a coin with a hole in its center. You can tap most of the objects and see a quirky animation that follows each of them. For example, tapping a coin will cause it to flip into a different coin. Another example is when you take off a white button off a shirt, you can tilt your iPad to move the button across the screen and guide it into a hole at the center of the page.
The book then moves on to two difficult concepts that encourage juniors to ask their parents for more explanation. The first one involves a giant black hole in our universe, and the second one causes your juniors to wonder how they came to be:
"It is certain that you entered this world through a hole. But, that's a long story. Ask your dad."
The next six pages of the book discusses the holes in our body, starting with the ones in our head: our mouth, eye, nose, and ear. There is also an explanation about how our digestive system works. You can also play with various mini games, such as fixing a jumbled face, learning how the word "mouth" is spoken in nine different languages, and playing different musical notes into our ears.
The book is certainly witty, and provocative:
"You've got a hole in your head! That's what you say if someone is being stupid. But how many holes do you really have in your head?"
This is especially evident in the last three pages, where there are several of these types of questions. The book starts with "good holes", without which many things would not work. To prove this point, juniors are asked to participate in a mini game where they match different holes to various items, such as holes in the shower head, a hole in an acoustic guitar, and a tunnel to go through a hill.
The book then continues with "bad holes", which indicates that something bad has happened, such as holes in your teeth, a leak in a boat, and a shoe in need of a new sole. Finally, the book asks what juniors think of holes and their importance once they have reached the end.
If you are curious to know how juniors would react to this book, I'd suggest watching the following video. It was taken by the developer team when they invited five kids to discuss the book.
Parents Need to Know
The book is meant to be read under adult supervision. There is a couple of direct instructions within the book that advises juniors to get their parents involved so they can explain the more difficult concepts left unexplained in the book. The interesting questions asked throughout the book would also prompt many interesting discussions between you and your juniors.
"We want to create children's apps that are more than just digital babysitters - we want to make apps that parents and children will share" - Kayoko Suzuki-Kange, Chocolate Factory Publishing co-founder.
I'd encourage you to explore every little detail in this book. If you've read them once, I'd suggest to explore the Clues section. It was in this section that I learned that you can tilt the iPad to guide the white button into the black hole at the center of the first page.
Things I Like
I really like the author's great sense of humor. While most juniors would not be able to understand, I'm sure that many parents would appreciate the laugh. I have a feeling that the jokes in the book are actually meant for parents who accompany their juniors as they read.
Another thing that I like how the mini games and interactivity are so tightly coupled with the book. This means that readers wouldn't feel like they've been taken off to an entirely unrelated section. Instead, each interaction lets juniors explore, engage, be curious, and be entertained at the same time.
The Book of Holes is not your typical non-fiction books for kids. It's suitable for everyone, including early readers, young teens, and even parents. I'd suggest parents read this book first to enjoy the wit and learn the clues. Afterwards, you can invite your juniors to read the book with you. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a rewarding parental experience.
The Book of Holes is available for iPad
Get it on the App Store: iPad
App was provided for our honest review.
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