Today Old Mate Media is ecstatic to announce its latest Children’s Book. Can You See The Magic? is available on iTunes and Amazon, and it’s unlike anything you have seen before.
The seventh children’s picture book to be written and published by Chris Stead and Old Mate Media is on sale right now. It’s available on iTunes for the Apple Books app, and it’s available on Amazon through Kindle devices and the Kindle app. But no doubt, you’re pondering why I’d make the claim that Can You See the Magic? is both revolutionary and unique. It’s because, through the use of animations, interactions and sound, we’ve created an Apple Book like any other to come before it. On that brings magic to life. I’ll explain, but first let’s set the scene.
A Collaboration of Art and Story
The story explores the magic of a child’s imagination and how we can all discover magic in the world around us. It was inspired by the quiet moments where I eavesdrop on my children when they are at play. What they see; it’s all make-believe. They’re creating adventures and stories using simple objects in the world around them. A bucket might become a castle, a stick a sword and a toy figurine a knight that comes to save the day.
Coming across the art of Els Dirickx was a light bulb moment – and you should definitely check out her amazing gallery . I saw in it that very moment of eavesdropping on a child’s imagination at play captured in an image. It uses a technique she is pioneering called Reverse Art. Els first takes photographs of simple items in the environment about her farm - naturally occurring and man-made. Then she uses the patterns and blemishes within as the foundation for creating a scene. It turns the mundane into something magical.
So I created a story to fit her art. I asked: What if a sister and brother wanted to show the magic they see to their dad? Their dad doesn’t believe it is real, but his children are determined to teach him how to see magic. So they set off on a stroll across the paddocks. And what if they could then see in the bark and the leaves and the rusted old car doors these fantasy scenes and settings, and they are trying to convince their dad it is there? Could they really convince him there is magic at their farm before the sun sets?
The Revolutionary Design
I’m really happy with the story and how it revels in the fun that unfolds when a dad pays attention to their kids and follows them on their adventure. But in the design of the book, I really wanted to bring life to that magic effect. Turning a book into this kind of experience was tricky, but exciting.
When the kids in the story discover a magical object, it appears as the original mundane photo taken by Els. However when they press the wand, the sound of it flourishing comes from the speakers, and Els final art dissolves in over the top. By positioning each image exactly over the top of each other, there is no break in this animation and the original image literally dissolves into the new scene. A button then appears, allowing the kids to bring up the next section of the story that depicts the scene. You can watch the video below to see it in action.
All the children I have road-tested this on are gobsmacked by the experience. By combining this original, Australian art by Els with these design ideas and a story that perfectly snuggles in-between, I do feel like Can You See the Magic? is both revolutionary and unique. Well as long as you are viewing on Apple Books – sadly Amazon’s Kindle software simply isn’t capable of advanced design techniques as the ones I’ve detailed below – the story and images remain intact, but you need to read it on iOS device to get the special effects.