Budgie story for children gets hands-on for tablets

Nicola Furlong with Saving Grape-Jelly Cheeks in her Sidney garden. The interactive children’s touch book is available online.  - Christine van Reeuwyk/News staff
Nicola Furlong with Saving Grape-Jelly Cheeks in her Sidney garden. The interactive children’s touch book is available online.
— image credit: Christine van Reeuwyk/News staff

A Sidney budgie is getting poked and prodded by a few people as the star of a new interactive children’s book for touch screen devices.

Grape-Jelly Cheeks, based on a real budgie, is the star of Sidney’s Nicola Furlong and Glynne Turner’s first interactive kids book. Many years ago, the two Sidney women rescued the real Grape-Jelly Cheeks in their chilly Ottawa backyard.

Mystery and suspense writer Furlong plunged into the children’s tale after getting an iPad. Already a multi-published author who’d delved into the value-added online supplements for her stories, Furlong wanted to dive into the kiddie pool taking a story she’d already written, and adding modern technology.

“You can tell stories so much more interactively,” Furlong said. “We’re really enjoying telling stories. To tell them in this manner blows me away.”

Using the Interactive Touch Books platform online gave them the financial ability to put the paper book into the multi-layered option for touchscreen devices. They went about making what Turner calls a “nice little story with simple visuals.”

“The idea of doing it ourselves was appealing,” Turner said. “That’s the creative outlet.”

Saving Grape-Jelly Cheeks is told through a cappella singing in hopes of having children and parents laughing and joining in to help rescue a budgie. The musical tale features Turner’s music throughout.

“There’s a number of surprises on the page,” Furlong said, dragging a seed across the screen to the sounds of disco music.

While rescuing Cheeks, readers can explore and discover surprises, like the dancing bird seeds, chatty squirrels and a chorus of sassy sparrows.

“We hoped to have some little life lessons in there,” Turner added. “[For example] in a garden there’s lots of things kids can do, and creatures to play with.”

Saving Grape-Jelly Cheeks is available online for $2.99 at interactivetouchbooks.com.



More tails

Saving Grape-Jelly Cheeks is the initial story in the planned children’s series, Musical Garden Tails. Next up is the tentatively titled Odie’s Frozen Feast.

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