Tonight I came across the Chinese Picture Book Reader from Allset Learning (John Pasden’s company) in a blog post on ChinesePod. This is an iPad app that aims to provide suitable content for Chinese Learners.
Very similar to a children’s picture book, it tries to solve the “「holy crap, I’ve been studying Chinese for over two years and I can hardly read any of this book written for a 6-year-old」” problem.
This is a problem I can related to — each time you try to break out of your set lessons you find that real Chinese has no nice defined boundaries. Chinese children are already expected to know the characters for the most exotic animals and insects, making children’s books a real challenge.
The app itself is free and comes with some very basic texts (Chinese, pinyin and English) on life and happiness from Chinese students. The graphics are done gorgeously. Each text is pronounced clearly, and much to my delight there is an option to select Traditional Chinese display.
I spend a little small change and bought one of the two additional books through an in-app purchase. I liked it, all twelve pages of it. Nicely done, really good pictures and clear pronunciation but of course the book was way too short. In this it is very much like a children s picture book, its a taste, a flavor, but nothing more.
My opinion is that with this app Allset Learning has a nice platform and I am interested to see if they will release more substantial texts / picture books in the future.