Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Who needs to picture books when you've got a computer?

My son is only one. He doesn't know how to type, he hasn't figured out the mouse, but he loves to sit on my lap and play with the computer. We live in a digital age, so I don't want to discourage his explorations as he pokes the keys and watches the monitor, but I want to start the habit of using the computer in a positive way form an early age. That's when I remembered Looky Book, it's an website that lets you view picture books from cover to cover. It was featured here back when it was in beta form, and it's collection has grown quite a bit since I last saw it. Although I still prefer to hold a real book in my hand, this is a great place to be in my little one MUST spend time online. You can create your own saved shelf of bookshelves and when you finish a book, Looky Book will recommend other similar books. They don't have the most extensive collection, but who can resist a glimpse at Little Pea or ABC3D or First The Egg (and aren't you curious to see how they handle all the cutouts in First The Egg?)

And speaking of picture books online, have you seen Storyline Online? It's a program run by the Screen Actors Guild. They have recordings of actors reading picture books with some animation added to the illustrations. It's the next best things since Reading Rainbow (ok, it's not, but it could be if they keep it up and add more books and make it a little easier to access a list of all of the books offered). It's also very worth your time to check it out. You'll find some oldies but goodies like The Polar Express, A Bad Case of the Stripes, and William Steig's Brave Irene.

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