Guest post: Dave Windass on The Gift

Dave Windass is a Hull-based playwright with a background in journalism for The Stage, the Hull Daily Mail and the Big Issue in the North – where he worked with our Marketing & PR Manager Sean Smith.

These days, Dave spends his time writing plays like Sully and Thinspiration for Hull Truck Theatre and is currently developing a piece about the life of the British film mogul J Arthur Rank. He also spends a lot of time reading to his four-year-old son Finn.

Dave downloaded The Gift and gave us some lovely feedback through Twitter and iTunes so we asked him to tell us more. Over to Dave:

“One of the pleasures of parenting is reading time. Clearly the iPad is a game changer for a variety of reasons but, when we purchased one recently, we had no idea that it would change the bookish routine we’d settled into with our four-year-old son Finn.

Finn’s shelves are full of books and he is always keen (once he’s finally decided which half dozen volumes to push under our noses) to clamber on the sofa, sit down and hear a story. Naturally this is already an interactive process – he’s in the early stages of reading so he’ll spot words, join in with the storytelling and he’s extremely enthusiastic when it comes to turning the pages.

So we were a little dubious about casting aside the hard copy books and going down the iPad route, lest we completely ruin what was already a perfect – if traditional – experience. I’d looked at a few sample children’s story apps and we’d paid for a few but nothing really dissuaded me from the view that neither the technology, nor the storytelling is currently capable of replacing paper-based books. Until, that is, the Oomorels entered our lives.

Picture books for kidsWhat is still important, whatever the platform, and what Persian Cat Press appear to truly recognise, (and what initially snared Finn’s attention) is a good story. The Gift’s words and pictures would be an engaging piece of work without the additional elements that can be brought to bear on an iPad.

Finn, who has had access to the iPad before, quickly got to grips with his role in the story. With a little encouragement, he tapped and stroked the screen in order to release the rich magic that is embedded throughout. The whole process more than matched the tactile nature of paper-based book reading and also provided new and different experiences.

It was an absolute pleasure to sit with him as he discovered the various elements at his fingertips, big smiles appearing on his face as he made progress, got to know the Oomorels, listened intently to Nick Hughes’ soothing voice and enjoyed the rewards of making contact with the right on-screen touch points.

Reading with Finn (pictured) has never been a passive activity for him but The Gift provided new levels of participation. After a first reading he was keen to immediately repeat the process and he has asked to revisit The Gift on numerous occasions, most recently immediately after his breakfast (I was happy to comply as I was keen to have yet another look too).

This enthusiasm for a piece of intelligent work that will clearly enhance his literary levels is very pleasurable to observe. We’re all looking forward to subsequent releases from this publisher.”

Dave Windass

You can download The Gift here.

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