Apple has approved for sale my first children’s book app, a joint venture with acclaimed illustrator and children’s book author Craig Frazier, titled Stanley Mows the Lawn. Without spoiling the story, Frazier’s well-loved Stanley character appears in this title to perform the rather unpleasant chore of mowing his overgrown lawn, and, encountering the bewitching Hank the Snake in the process, is inspired to complete the task in uniquely inspired fashion.

Craig is a remarkable illustrator and it was a great pleasure to bring the inspired work of his print book to life-in-pixel on the iPad (there are two more titles from the series which will be available as soon as rights issues have been cleared).

This was my first attempt at a digital book, and technology-wise it drew from the interactive experiences of a number of existing book and children’s books apps. The functionality is primarily flip-based page turning, with peripheral features including the ability to record audio (as in, record your own narration to the book, with the option of turning the written text that accompanies the illustrations off altogether), an embedded animated short, and a touch-driven game that allows the user to mimic Stanley’s efforts in creatively maintaing a well manicured lawn.

The app utilizes the following development frameworks:
A combination of UIKit provided and custom-designed interface elements, all in beautiful orange and tangerine.
Core Animation powers all book-related animations, namely page turning.
AVFoundation provides audio recording and playback functionality, as well as presents the animated short.
OpenGL powers the visual effects in the game, alongside CoreAnimation and e-mail/print services.

The core functionality of the app is quite ┬ásimple and versatile – it accepts a folder full of PNGs, and, when accompanied by a simple XML/Plist file containing the text associated with each page, presents a flippable “book”.

Stanley Mows the Lawn is intended for an audience ages 4+, and it’s available now.


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