Category Archives: Book Apps for Early Readers

Mrs. A describes how she illustated Dad Won’t Let Go of Meg’s Yo-Yo

Illustration used in the book app

Illustration used in the book app

Like the characters in Play, Pop, Play, the characters in our new ebook app, Dad Won’t Let Go of Meg’s Yo-Yo, are based on real people.  As an artist, I find it helps to imagine someone I know when I am drawing.  My brother-in-law, John, is one of the funniest people I have ever met, both in his words, and in his over-the-top gestures!  He is the role model for the father in our story.  His daughter, Meaghan, (Meg) is a sweet, forgiving girl like the birthday girl in our story. Meaghan’s older sister, Rachel, unfortunately for our purposes, has a name that can’t be easily decoded by beginning readers, so we changed Rachel to Jen.  Rachel looks out for her little sister, and sometimes reminds her Dad to settle down if he is getting too enthused. 

An early version of an illustration for Dad Won't Let Go of Meg's Yo-Yo, not used in the book

An early version of an illustration for Dad Won’t Let Go of Meg’s Yo-Yo, not used in the book

My early sketches (I am attaching one here) look so simple compared to the final drawings that comprise the book.  I try to put many details into each page of art, so that a child reading the book has lots to notice and discuss.  Somehow a mischievous cat sneaked into this story too! 

Although there are many yo-yo tricks (around the world, side winder, boomerang, and sleeper), none of these are C-V-C (one-syllable, short-vowel) words. The challenge for us in composing Dad Won’t Let Go of Meg’s Yo-Yo was to find a way to show the tricks yet use simple words.  Instead of around the world, our book says, “spin the yo-yo.”  Instead of side winder, we say “jump the yo-yo.”

Most of us can do the simple up and down motion of a yo-yo unless the string is too long.  And THAT is the premise of our book: Dad delays cutting the string so little Meg can’t play with her yo-yo. Maybe I should call this book a memoir.  It reminds me of being a little girl, and of having a bigger, taller and smarter brother (or so I thought at the time), who was also a master of the yo-yo.  Like the Dad in Dad Won’t Let Go of Meg’s Yo-Yo, my brother would sometimes torment me, showing off his yo-yo prowess, until—SPOILER!  I almost away gave the ending.  You’ll have to read our latest book to find out what happens!

Also, to see some mighty nice yo-yos, go www.yo-yo.com and www.yo-yoplay.com

Check out our newest beginning reader book app, “Dad Won’t Let Go of Meg’s Yo-Yo.”

Like our previous app books, Dad Won’t Let Go of Meg’s Yo-Yo is written in easy, one-syllable, mostly short-vowel words that beginning readers can sound out.  The story is silly—a father gives his little girl a yo-yo for her birthday, and becomes so engrossed in showing her how to do tricks that little Meg can’t play with her yo-yo.  Eventually the father realizes his mistake, apologizes, and cuts the string to fit Meg.

Dad won't let go of Meg's yo-yo.

Our fourth book app for early readers is at http://goo.gl/XDZoy1

Our app books are genuine literature, that is, real stories with a beginning, middle and end.  Yet very early readers—those who know consonant and short vowel sounds—can read the books and appreciate the story.  The art is humorous, meant to appeal to the child’s funny bone, yet the message at the end—an apology—teaches the child an important value.

In addition, because Dad Won’t Let Go of Meg’s Yo-Yo and other books are apps, they are interactive.  At the end of each book are ten pages of activities which take advantage of technology.  Students can draw lines with electronic crayons; they can swipe words with a highlighter; they can draw letters or circle yes or no.  When they are done, they can erase and start over, or save, or email to Grandma.

Dad won't let go of Meg's yo-yo vocabulary exercise.If you are a teacher with a white board, and you have an iPad or iPhone and a computer compatible with Apple products, you can show the book on your white board and let the whole class participate.  Right now you need to be able to download our app on an Apple device, but eventually we will have our books available for Android products.

To preview Dad Won’t Let Go of Meg’s Yo-Yo, go to http://goo.gl/XDZoy1.   To preview our other books go to http://goo.gl/JMrT3, http://goo.gl/ClVyM, and http://goo.glK1HcU.

Guest blogger: Mrs. A on the development of “Play, Pop, Play”

Several people have asked Mrs. K and me questions regarding our most recent book, Play Pop Play.  As the illustrator at Comicphonics.com, and the person who developed the idea for the book, let me tell you how it came about.

Where did the idea come from?

"Play, Pop, Play" book app cover

Our third most recent book app, “Play, Pop, Play” is at http://goo.gl/JMrT3 .

My husband, Paul, and I have three grandsons.  Our oldest just turned three.  Whenever we get together, the first thing he does is take Papa by the hand, dragging him from place to place.  “C’mon Papa.  Let’s play tent.”  “Let’s play cars.”  “Let’s look at bugs!”  Last Christmas, he and his Papa sat together in a tiny little tent, in the corner of the dining room and hid from the rest of us. As I watched a six foot two grandpa and a two-year-old squeezed into a tiny tent, the story line began to form.

Do the characters in the story look like real people?

"Pop" Paul and grandsonYes.  If you know my husband, Paul, you will certainly recognize him in the book. He is tall, follicly challenged, and has a mustache and glasses.  Tom, the little boy in the story, is just like our little grandson—blond, impulsive and go, go, go!

You are the artist?

Yes. I do the illustrations, and my sister, Mrs. K, does the text.  We live in different states and communicate via computer.  I scan the sketches into the computer, email them to Mrs. K and we begin a dialogue.  Eventually the drawings get more developed and detailed, and we decide on a beginning, middle and ending.  Then the art and the words come together, and with the help of Mrs. K’s husband who finagles art and words onto a single page, and our App-man, Mrs. K’s son, the app appears on line.

How much time does it take from start to finish?

I like to have a lot of ideas simmering at the same time.  I keep a separate sketch book for each book idea and add to the books as the ideas surface.  I guess it is sort of like reading several books at the same time.  It’s nice to go back and forth. At any time, I might have three or four projects going at once.  For this particular book, the idea was conceived in December.  On a long car ride from NY to NC, I made lots of rough sketches and listed ideas.  (No, I was not driving.)  I then let it go for a while, conferred with Mrs. K, and after a period of time, looked at my sketches again with a fresh perspective.  I scanned more detailed sketches to Mrs. K, and she began work on the words.  More time elapsed before I began the final artwork.  By then it was May.  The app appeared in the Apple store in June.  But meanwhile, three more books are in various stages of readiness!

Are you satisfied with your work?

Never!  But I am thrilled to be doing what I am doing.  I’m always trying to improve my work and it is great being part of comicphonics.com!

Mrs. K and Mrs A publish another beginning reading book

Mrs. K and Mrs. A have published our third children’s book app in three months!  Play, Pop, Play, our latest book app, resembles our prior book apps, Not a Lot on Top and Look, Babysitter, Look.  All three are written in easy CVC words for beginning English and ESL readers and have hilarious drawings featuring a little kid to attract young readers.

Play, Pop, Play iTunes App

Go to http://goo.gl/JMrT3 for more information.

In Play, Pop, Play, little Tom wants his Pop to play with him—tucked under a table, splashing in a tiny swimming pool, and pumping high on swings.  Pop tires out and wants to nap, but Tom keeps going until—well, you’ll have to read to find out.

Several activity pages follow, all using the simple vocabulary and events of the story.  Unlike paper workbook pages, these app pages are interactive, encouraging the beginning reader to draw lines with electronic crayons, swipe words in a word search, and number the story events in sequence—appropriate reading skills for new readers.  Then—poosh!—the child can erase and start over, or save, or email her work to Grandma.

Play, Pop, Play is available for $1.99 on Apple iPhones, iPads and iPods.  To preview or to buy this book, go to http://goo.gl/JMrT3.

Also, check out Not a Lot on Top at http://goo.gl/ClVyM, and Look Babysitter, Look at http://goo.gl/K1HcU.

Mrs. K and Mrs. K and Mrs. A publish second beginning reader book app: “Look, Babysitter, Look”

Mrs. K and Mrs. A have published our second children’s book app for beginning English readers and beginning ESL readers, Look, Babysitter, Look.

Book app for iPhone and iPad.

Available for iPhone and iPad at http://goo.gl/K1HcU

The story of Look Babysitter Look follows the antics of a little girl who cannot sleep while her clueless babysitter talks on the cell phone.  The pictures are funny, the words are easy and the cost low–$1.99 for the book and activity pages.  The book was designed as a fun method to attract beginning readers using phonics—mostly short-vowel, one-syllable (CVC) words.

Look  babysitter look sample activity page.The activity pages resemble workbook pages except that they are interactive, which delights kids.  A child can write a letter in a blank with an electronic crayon, circle words in a word search, fill in simple crossword puzzle words or draw lines to match drawings that rhyme.  All the activities are appropriate for a beginning reader and pertain to Look, Babysitter, Look’s characters and theme.

Right now Look, Babysitter, Look is available on Apple products through iTunes books but we expect it will be available on android products.  To preview the book, or to buy it, click on http://goo.gl/K1HcU.

Also, check out our first book, Not a Lot on Top, at http://goo.gl/ClVyM.

Mrs. K and Mrs. A publish first phonics picture book

BREAKING NEWS—Mrs. K and Mrs. A published our first children’s book on May 23.  Called Not a Lot on Top, it concerns the attempts of a little girl to hide her father’s bald head.  The pictures are silly, the words easy and the cost low–$1.99 for the book and ten easy yet educational activity pages relating to the book.

bald dad with lampshade over head

See new app at http://goo.gl/ClVyM

Right now the book is available on all Apple products but we hope eventually it will be available on android products as well.  Go to http://goo.gl/ClVyM to read more information or to order.

More books are in the works.  We hope to publish two in June and one a month after that—all targeted for the beginning reader in English.

Mrs. K and Mrs. A would like to thank Patrick Powers who suggested publishing our books as apps, and who did the technical work to make it possible.  We would also like to thank Bill Powers who has done all the technical work which makes this blog possible.