The Magic School Bus 25th Anniversary!
The Magic School Bus: In the Time of Dinosaurs was one of my favorite books growing up, combining my love for some Frizzle Sizzle and absolute obsession with dinosaurs (Is there anything cooler?). So imagine how excited I was when I found out that Scholastic was turning it into an interactive book app for the iPad, The Magic School Bus: Dinosaurs
But what goes into turning a beloved book into an app?
We sat down with Megan, Scholastic Media’s producer for the new The Magic School Bus: Dinosaurs iPad app, to find out what’s most important to her team when turning a book into an app on the iPad.
Q: This is the second Magic School Bus interactive book app you’ve produced for the iPad. What is it about them that kids love?
Megan: We think kids love apps for all the same reasons adults do. Apps allow you to take books and games on the go for fun and learning wherever you are!
Q: What do you think readers can learn from an interactive book app that is different from what they can learn from the original book?
Megan: A great book app must take key parts of the original book and bring them to life. We started with the beloved Magic School Bus books and added features that cannot work in print: photos, videos, games that introduce and reinforce science concepts, and voices for the characters. The end result is a personalized experience with the book, and hopefully one you want to read again and again!
Q: How did you decide which features to include when you were developing The Magic School Bus: Dinosaurs app?
Megan: We thought deeply about the content of the original book, The Magic School Bus: In the Time of Dinosaurs, and app users. We selected topics and games that brought the core ideas of the original book to life in engaging and interactive ways. Then we tested the ideas with kids. We tested the interface, the functionality, the leveling, even the game directions, to make sure the book and games work as we intended. The end result is the app you see today.
Q: What is your favorite?
Megan: My favorite feature is definitely the collectable dinosaur cards. I don’t want to give too much away, but as you read the book, you will have the opportunity to go on countless dinosaur digs, build dinosaur skeletons from the fossils you find, and then collect cards with facts and pictures of the dinosaurs you discover.
Q: What’s the coolest fact you learned about dinosaurs from making the app?
Megan: Well, we all know the typical diet of a Tyrannosaurus Rex is meat, but I was interested to learn that most Tyrannosaurus skulls discovered by paleontologists have holes in the jawbones from mouth infections!
— Caitlin, Scholastic Media Staffer