> The Beesley Buzz: Me Books Review: The Brave Beast

Me Books Review: The Brave Beast

First up, I need to come clean. I don't like e-books. Apps fine. My boys use educational Apps as part of their home-schooling all the time. They have loads of game Apps on the ipad, too. But for me, I have always preferred proper paper books and nothing else quite seemed right.

But when we were given the opportunity to try out a Me Book e-book, I had a quick look at the Me Books website and thought it looked an interesting concept. Sort of an interactive e-book that could be personalised with recordable bits as well. The stories are read by celebrities and there is a great selection of well known favourite books to choose from!

Now this review is supposed to be for the Me Books new release The Brave Beast by author-illustrator Chris Judge and narrated by Adam Buxton, but I have been so impressed by the Me Books concept that I am going to rave about that a little first!

It took literally a just a few moments to download the Me Books App for free from the App Store (and you get a free Me Book copy of Little Red Riding hood for doing that), and then to register our details with Me Books through the App, for which we got a further free Me Book ("I don't want to go to bed" by Julie Sykes and Tim Warnes).

There is a little video on the Me Book which really clearly shows just how it works and just how simple they are to use. As with all these types of things, the kids got the hang of it really quickly and were soon having fun playing around with the Me Books.

You can simply have the story narrated to you, and click on the 'hot spots' to hear extra little bits that the characters are saying, and you can create your own 'hot spots' by either changing what they say or adding additional hot spots.

My boys (aged 7 and 9) are both very confident readers but still very much enjoy all types of books ranging from picture books to thick chapter books. They also love to read with their little sister too (who seems to have also acquired their love of books and stories). So although The Brave Beast was an easy read for them, they had literally hours of fun on this rainy day making up silly sound effects for the story and changing the 'hot spots' to say different things.

D made sensible alternatives, whilst joker J had some crazy fun making up some rude noises and funny phrases on each page.

I have become a convert to e-books, or should I say Me Books, because:
  • I loved that some of my favourite stories (and many that we also already have a hard copy of) are available to purchase as a Me Book.  
  • I love that they bring an additional interactive dimension to storytelling and reading books.
  • It is great that the 'hot spots' can be changed and new 'hot spots' can be added.
  • It is a really intuitive, easy-to-use app that the kids can just 'get on with' themselves if necessary, and yet at other times could be done together as a fun activity.
  • Me books are an educational alternative to games apps that my kids love so much. They can have fun with the Me Book instead of spending yet more time on a gaming app.
In our household, book apps like these will never completely replace hard copy books but they certainly will be complementing our range of books and offering an added dimension to reading.

Disclosure: We were given a free copy of The Brave Beast as a Me Book e-book download (worth £1.99). All opinions given in this review are our own.

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