The guys at Play-a-Sound have always pushed the boundaries of when it comes to creating new formats for audio books. Back in 2010 they produced a book which came with a "Play-a-Sound" watch with buttons to provide the special effects. Now their latest 2011 effort packs even more into a single product!
In fact, this product is so complex it has overflown the boundaries of "book format". In fact, it's available in two formats.
In either case you get a book with five pop-up scenes, plus a torch with five Play-a-Sound buttons to provide special effects. Yep, you read that right. Sounds! Lights! Pop-ups! All in one single product!
Each of the five pop-up scenes comes with a scene-setting paragraph. e.g.:
"With great power comes great responsibility. This means that Spider-Man [SFX] must always use his powers to help others. So when Super Villains like the Green Goblin [SFX] are causing trouble, Spidey swings into action! [SFX]"
Of the five scenes, two are Spidey alone. One is Spidey vs. Green Goblin. Two are Spidey vs. Doc Ock. Also included in the large version are suggestions for shadow-puppets relevant to the scene. E.g. "Now use your fingers and the torch to make a shadow shaped like Doc Ock's pincers."
The striking artwork is reproduced from the visually delightful graphics created for the Marvel: Origin Story Books series, specifically The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Green Goblin (Origin Storybook) and The Amazing Spider-Man vs. Doctor Octopus (Origin Storybook) .
The pop-ups aren't particularly complex, but they do look quite robust, which is great. Sometimes pop-up books can be a bit too fragile for young fingers. But these ones look like they can survive a bit of pre-school attention.
The sounds are fun, of course. And there's a torch. What MORE can you want?
For a generation of kids used to playing on Tablets and Consoles before they even get to school, these days it takes something a bit special to qualify as "cool". But if any book can tear a kid away from their PlayStation or iPad for ten minutes, this would have to be the one.
I have to give this one the works... a full FIVE WEBS. Buy one and give it to your kids. Heck, give the small one to your kids and buy a big version for yourself!