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December 19, 2011

New (free) (e)Books: Yellow Submarine

Like so many people my age, I was raised on the Beatles—I think I took either my mother or father's copy of Magical Mystery Tour to my preschool show-and-tell once. (What precisely I said about it is, rather fortunately, lost to my memory.)

But while the Fab Four's music had become a fairly natural background to my own early parenting years as well, I hadn't given the animated film Yellow Submarine a lot of thought. (I seem to recall that my snobbish elementary-school self largely dismissed the movie after my first viewing, upon realizing that the real Beatles hadn't done their own voices.)

Until, that is, a trip to London when our oldest was three, and happened to be obsessed with "All You Need Is Love"—having run through the picture books we had brought with us, we grabbed an edition of the book version of Yellow Submarine, which features all the colorful Heinz Edelmann graphics of the film, if none of the actual music. It was a huge hit with Dash, and has been a favorite book of his and his younger brother's ever since.

And now, I discover, iTunes is offering an iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch edition of Yellow Submarinecompletely free of charge! (OK, the iPad's not free by any means, I grant you.) It makes smart, efficient use of the opportunities for interactivity—at a touch, the butterflies flutter, the Blue Meanies laugh evilly, and the Beatles themselves pop up and down in the Sea of Holes. Plus, there's a whole slew of video clips from the movie on just about every page, which means that in this edition, you do get some of the original songs. (Naturally, there's a page at the end where you can buy any or all of them on iTunes.)

Maybe it's just the relative newness, still, of interactive books on tablets, but when I unveiled this surprise for Dash and Griff, they were mesmerized and delighted (and—fair warning—wouldn't let me have my iPad back). Kinda wishing now that I'd saved it as a (free!) Christmas present...

[Image © Apple Corps Ltd., courtesy of PR Newswire]

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