A current report on interactive children’s books from the Toronto Globe & Mail favourably compares the products of Kiwa Media, a small digital book company based in Auckland, with one produced by Disney and developers at Small Planet Digital.
In a classic David-and-Goliath showdown, Kiwa Media’s Zoo You Later—Monkey Business is pitted against Disney’s Toy Story Read-Along. Both apps have similar basic functions including read along and colouring book.
“Kiwa Media’s Zoo You Later—Monkey Business is selling for US$4.99 and includes a spelling function that, by selecting one or more words, the book repeats them. By double tapping the word the book spells it out the letter by letter.”
With these functions the review said that Monkey Business “is ideal for children learning to read”.
“Both apps are a fun read for children,” the review concluded.
The review described Monkey Business as “fantastic”, but Disney’s greater resources (e.g. the rights to the movie where scene from the original film are included in the app) and greater overall investment meant that Toy Story had more interactive bells and whistles.
“Although it’s not necessary for e-books to include games and shareable artwork, it’s a nice touch and not included in Monkey Business.”
Described as “a tad pricey”, Toy Story Read Along sells for US$8.99 on the Apple iTunes store.
Kiwa Media is New Zealand’s leader in the production of children’s multi-functional, multi-lingual interactive books. Managing director Rhonda Kite reports Kiwa’s top sellers are Zoo You Later – Monkey Business, Hairy Maclary, The Wonkey Donkey and the Milly, Molly series and, in education, the obook literacy series.
Kiwa Media’s clients include Oxford University Press, Pearson Education Singapore, Scholastic NZ and Penguin Puffin NZ.