Children's book iPad apps offer multilingual tales, long-distance bedtime stories

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With its full-color screen and advanced features, the iPad is opening the doors for applications designed around illustrated children's books. Among the many children's literature apps launching with the iPad are ICDL for iPad, which links to a library of children's literature in 54 languages, and A Story Before Bed, a service that allows users to record themseves reading a book for play back any time.

The free ICDL for iPad app links to what a press release calls "the world's largest freely available collection of multi-lingual, online children's books," hosted by the International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) Foundation and the University of Maryland.

The app boasts easy navigation of 4,000 titles from 64 countries in English, Arabic, Mongolian, Farsi, and 50 other languages. It allows for reading with a one- or two-page view, enabled by the iPad's auto-rotation feature, and a "PopoutText" feature allows for clear text in highly illustrated pages.

A Story Before Bed Bed, which just launched its iPad-tailored app, features an online library of more than 100 titles. Users ( parents, grandparents, etc.) select a title, then record themselves reading the story via webcam. They email the link to a child, who can view it at any time. The application syncs each page turn with the audio/video, which appears in a corner of the screen.

The free app comes bundled with a pre-recorded version of The Frog Princess by Adrian Klein and Katie Grosskopf; the price to send a book and recording is $6.99.