The Artifacts, by Slap Happy Larry, is an intriguing book made specifically for the iPad. Slap Happy Larry is the husband and wife team Dan Hare and Lynley Stace, who are based near Canberra, Australia's capital city. The Artifacts is about a young boy who loves to collect, according to Lynley Stace, “but at a deeper level it is about valuing what is really important in life: education, memories, and experiences.” While younger children can enjoy the story for its pictures and interactive elements, older children will better grasp the symbolic connotations and hopefully walk away with a lesson learned about the importance of a great education and making memories.
This app utilizes the best and latest in mobile technology. The story is narrated in a serene tone and the interactivity is a perfect mix to complement the text. “There are currently very few original storybook apps available for middle-grade children and above,” says developer, Dan Hare. "We created an app to help fill this gap, with the belief that picture books can be enjoyed by children of all ages. Author Lynley Stace, a former teacher, comments, "There is no real need to abandon picture books even after a young reader has advanced to chapter books”. Picture books offer the chance to develop visual literacy. The Artifacts is presented as an inspiring story open to interpretation at many levels. Child readers can help Asaf display his collections, keep up with the caterpillars’ voracious appetite and change day to shadowy night by tapping on the screen. They can reveal the wizard’s basement, Asaf brushing his teeth, and the ending of the story by rubbing the screen. They can tilt the device to float around in space or navigate Asaf’s raft across the stormy waves. In addition, older readers can engage with challenging vocabulary and concepts about thought, creativity and the organization of ideas.
*Lynley has put together some comprehensive Lesson Ideas/Teacher notes for The Artifacts, downloadable on the Slap Happy Larry website. It's a great resource for Parents and Teachers, to help discuss the concepts and themes in The Artifacts.