Putting augmented reality (AR) into books is either a very bad idea or a genius one.
Which one is it is one thing that you can put to the test with Little Hippo Books. It puts 4-D magic into classic titles like “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams. The augmented reality allows readers to interact and play with the characters of the book through a smart device.
Using smart device on books can be viewed as counterproductive to the books’ existence. After all, book-reading is encouraged among children to make them unplug and minimize their screen time.
However, the beauty of the Little Hippo titles is that you can actually treat their products as just that—books that you can read to children from ages 1 to 5. The board pages makes it durable enough to withstand the curious flipping of tiny hands.
The colorful illustrations has enough details to keep the interest of young readers. The story is condensed to make it an easier and more understandable read for beginners. As it is, the book is already worth its price.
The magic of augmented reality happens as soon as you download the Hippo Magic app for free in App Store or Google Play. Once you download the app, you must scan the front cover first and you do this each time you want to activate its AR.
First-time users will have to download the specific title into the device. But once it’s there, you can use it anytime, no internet needed. It makes a perfect plane ride companion.
The augmented reality is activated with six Hippo Magic symbols in “The Velveteen Rabbit.” Your device must point to the symbols for the AR. The activity in each page varies like identifying objects, using colors or interacting with the characters. Everything can be recorded or photographed and parents could share it on their social media.
Worth to try
The augmented reality feature is unobtrusive. The characters do not tell the readers the story. Children must read the book to know it. It is a supplement to the storytelling and an added fun but again, the book can stand on its own.
You can give augmented reality a try and decide for yourself. Big Bad Wolf in Manila carries Little Hippo books. They have two television screens set up in two different areas of the World Trade Center halls for demo. We spotted “The Red Riding Hood” and “Three Little Pigs”. Each copy is sold for P290.