Bookabi by Tamaji is an educational app that lets children write and digitally illustrate their own stories. The app includes backgrounds, text bubbles, 2D and 3D characters, and the ability to integrate images from the iPad’s photo setting.
Though many writers will want to dive right in and start writing stories, Bookabi also comes with a built-in tutorial that users can find in the main library by tapping the question mark icon. The well-executed tutorial answers most how-to questions that a user may have.
When creating a new story, the author can choose landscape or portrait format. First, the story needs a title and author credit, but the app gives users the choice to edit these again later.
A story can be as long or as short as the writer desires. It was easy to add new pages to the book, and editing them was intuitive since Bookabi’s controls are similar to many other iOS apps. Users can tap to select an item, pinch-to-zoom, or choose to rotate or flip an object using menu controls.
Bookabi comes with a stock set of images, backgrounds, and characters. More content is available through in-app purchase; however, it is Bookabi’s ability to use photos stored on the iPad that really lets kids get creative.
Users can share a book by email, import it to iTunes, or print it to an Air Print compatible device. Saving the story to iTunes isn’t as useful as the ability of sharing the book to the iBookstore.
Download Bookabi from the App Store for $2.99.
What I liked: The ability to rotate the 3D characters in all directions made it possible to create more realistic pages. The duplicate option saved time. Being able to design the cover was a nice touch. Owners of the new iPad may find that Bookabi gives them a reason to use the device’s iSight camera.
What I didn’t like: Bookabi would benefit from a “preview” mode. There is no way to read the book on the iPad from within the app without seeing the “tap here to edit” bar and menu button. Bookabi’s attempt to let users put photo faces on Bookabi characters is difficult to use at first, but once you can get a picture to work, it is fun to play around with.
To buy or not to buy: Kids will certainly enjoy setting up digital stories in Bookabi. The app is a good value because even though the set of images it comes with are limited the ability to import photos allows for nearly infinite story creation possibilites. While the app is certainly not inappropriate for pre-schoolers, kids who can spell basic words and read will probably have more fun with Bookabi than pre-readers.
- App Name: Bookabi
- Version Reviewed: 1.1
- Category: Education
- Developer: Tamaji Inc.
- Price: $2.99