Hänsel & Gretel Bookidu by Digital Book Production icon

Hänsel & Gretel Bookidu ($1.99) by Digital Book Production is another in the fast-growing genre of e-books. This book, however, is lacking in nearly all of the interesting things you might normally see in an iPad book.

Hänsel & Gretel Bookidu by Digital Book Production screenshot

The book does not read along. The developers state that the center of their idea is to read aloud to your children. That could be a good thing. In the age of technology, it seems the idea of spending quality time with your child is quickly giving way to giving them an app that reads to them. This app removes that feature. I get it.

Unfortunately, that is not where the stripping of features ends. The book doesn’t even have pictures in it. The cover art is beautiful and makes it seem like this will be a regular children’s book, you know, with pictures. Nope. Not one. You get the cover picture and that is it. Honestly, have you ever seen a children’s book without pictures? Neither have I.

The one feature that the book does have is sound effects. Various words and phrases are highlighted and when you touch them, you hear a flute, an owl screech, or a roaring fire. This is a great idea to help add ambience to storytelling, but not enough to make the book worth much.

The book is also available in English or German, so I guess if you are learning one of the two languages, it might be a good practice reader.

Overall, the book is certainly not worth $1.99. They developers have the right idea, but they really need pictures to go along with the story. There are so many of these new books out there that publishers need to have an edge on the competition. Having an e-book that is nothing but a bunch of words and a few well-placed sound effects is not going to cut it.