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December

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What a year! A 2014 roundup

by Book Frog

As this year draws to a close we want to thank everyone for their hard work and help.

2014 has been a ribbit roaring success for Box of Frogs and we wanted to thank everyone that we have worked with in helping bringing our beautiful storybook apps to life.

It’s been a busy year which has seen our portfolio flourish with 9 gorgeous interactive children’s books coming to market. It’s a pretty diverse collection with something for everyone – from the gorgeous seaside story which has the look and feel of a classic ladybird book, to the cheeky tale of a toxic fart tormenting a barn full of animals. A bizarre and brilliant journal full of fantastical creatures that will captivate young explorers, to the tentacle tapping musical hit where an octopus boogies on down at the ball. We also welcomed a little Australian bilby that goes by the name of Boj, and an adored green dog and his pink feline foe also joined the family… you might recognise them…

Roobarb and Custard

Roobarb and Custard

To top it all off we’ve ended our brilliant 2014 with two, YES I said TWO, nominations for the iKids Awards, with Boj – Hoppy Birthday and Boj – Musical Mayhem being recognised in the ebook category! Winners will be announced at the Kidscreen Summit in 2015.

Our Books

Summer can feel like a distant memory during this icy December but let’s take you back to the hazy days with the sound of waves lapping at the shore and seagulls cawing in the distance…..

Sophie and the Sea

Sophie and the Sea

Our appbook Sophie and the Sea has a distinct vintage style with Emily Wallis’ gorgeous illustration reminiscent of a classic ladybird title and with it, the narration of a lazy summers day; playing and dozing in the sand dunes. Writer Lizzie Hards created a gorgeous tale that follows a little girl’s trip to the seaside with her granny where they collect pebbles and seashells and make a beautiful sandcastle…

The Beach Ball

The Beach Ball

…. From sandcastles to rock pools, where you won’t help rocking out at The Beach Ball! In the latter part of the year we teamed up with the lovely chaps from Studio Syrup who created the sumptuous story of some Cornish kooky rock pool crustaceans who are approached by a huge octopus who wants to dance! Dave Benson Phillips narrated the story in his second gig for us and he captures the tone of a beach boogie (where we all wanna party) perfectly!

Dave also lent us his zany voice this summer with what has to be the stinkiest book on the planet – The Iddly Widdly Piddly Pop-Off! When Australian creator Daniel Corcoran got in touch we couldn’t resist bringing his hilarious tale of a toxic fart released into a barn of unsuspecting animals to digital. The team had so much fun working on the book and things got quite competitive with the mini-game that accompanies the story – the studio was filled with the sound of raspberries as we all attempted to beat one another’s score by seeing who could tap on the cartoon fart the most amount of times! (For the record I think it was Ben who scored highest!).

The Iddly Widdly Piddly Pop-Off

The Iddly Widdly Piddly Pop-Off

 

2014 saw the bizarre world of Birgitte Berteldatter’s Brilliant Birds and Beasts brought to beautiful being. We were greeted by the Royal Crested Tiger, the Urban Flox and the Rolling Beagle who were full of the joys of Spring. The eccentric explorer Birgitte shares her wonderful world in her field journal as she travels on her barge named Bessie. Author and illustrator Jenifer Toksvig takes us on an incredible journey with this app and it’s been such a delightful process discovering the world she created. And who better to bring Birgitte’s journal to life than no other than Jenifer’s sister, Sandi Toksvig! Sandi was such a joy to work with – capturing Birgitte’s spirit superbly – we laughed till our sides split and we hope the joyful energy can be felt throughout the story.

Brilliant Birds and Beasts

Brilliant Birds and Beasts

 

From Brilliant Birds and Beasts, to a bright little bilby that goes by the name of Boj. We teamed up with the lovely chaps at Pesky Productions to create three Boj appbooks to accompany the CBeebies series: Boj – The Collector, Boj – Musical Mayhem and Boj – Hoppy Birthday. It was a pleasure to work with Jason Donovan (he plays Pops in the TV show) who provided the narrative, and sang too! The appbooks have received some wonderful reviews and Musical Mayhem and Hoppy Birthday are both up for an iKids Award! The books are recognised in the ebook category and face stiff competition, we can’t wait until the winners are announced at the Kidscreen Summit in February – see you in Miami!

Boj - Musical Mayhem as seen on CBeebies

Boj – Musical Mayhem as seen on CBeebies

We close 2014 with a big…no, MASSIVE birthday celebration. Earlier in the year we heard word that cult-classic characters ROOBARB AND CUSTARD were turning the big FOUR-OH And of course we wanted to be involved in their exciting birthday bash! What better way, we thought, to celebrate such a ceremony than bringing the goofy green dog and pink feline foe to the digital generation.  As many will know, the original 1970s cartoon was voiced by the late, great Richard Briers and although much of the recording still exists, we decided to release the apps with a new tone…..step in the fantabulous actress Tamsin Greig! Tamsin, of Black Books, Green Wing and Episodes fame lent us her incredible madcap voice – the recording session was such a hoot – Tamsin was thrilled to be approached by us and we are very much looking forward to working on the next few books with her in 2015 – watch this space!

Tamsin Greig reading Roobarb and Custard: When Custard Was Grounded

Tamsin Greig reading Roobarb and Custard: When Custard Was Grounded

Events

At the start of the year the Frogs crossed the pond to New York for the largest international children’s media summit; Kidscreen. Ben, Kat and David were incredibly busy attending seminars, discovering new products and meeting a wealth of talented people, of which, author Sharon Eisenberg was one – watch this space as 2015 will

David, Kat and Ben at Kidscreen, NY

David, Kat and Ben at Kidscreen, NY

see us launch her wonderfully, naughty Nasty Habits: 2 Boys and 2 Baboons appbook! As well as working very hard, the team still managed to take in some of the sights and sounds of the big apple – as well as experiencing some fabulous singing waitresses and the odd pancake or 2…!

 

Once back in blighty it was soon time to get planning for the Children’s Media Conference. Producer Kat was tasked with creating a panel at the event which brought together a host of experienced industry speakers to discuss the shift in modern children’s publishing from traditional picture books to interactive appbooks.

Children's Media Conference, Sheffield

Children’s Media Conference, Sheffield

The panel, Telling Tales: From Paper to Pixel saw Eric Huang from MeBooks moderating speakers; Stephanie Gauld – Egmont, Tom Bonnick – Nosy Crow, Antonio Gould – Usbourne and Federico Dini from Honig Studios. The panel got down to the nitty gritty of what it takes to make a successful appbook – the challenges the industry faced and what the future held for kids digital books – it was a lively and impassioned discussion – showing the incredible excitement surrounding this brilliant industry.

Before the year was out there was still time to represent the interactive appbook market at the highly anticipated event TedX Brighton, where we showcased our innovative new technology ControlBook. The event brought together some of the most ground-breaking technologies, inventions and designs and Ben and David were busy in the Ideas Lab engaging people with the ControlBook prototype. Check back with us in the New Year to hear more about this unique and incredibly exciting technology!

Ben and David at TedX Brighton

Ben and David at TedX Brighton

We’d like to thank all the people we have worked with in making our 2014 such a success:

Everyone at Pesky Productions for all your hard work for bringing Boj to the digital book sphere, Studio Syrup for creating the fantastic Rock Pool Gang: The Beach Ball – we can’t wait for the next books in the series! To A&B TV and BullDog Licensing for letting us loose on the classic and beloved characters Roobarb and Custard. Jen Toksvig and sister Sandi for their brilliant and bizarre creations in Birgitte Berteldatter. The infectiously hilarious author and illustrator Daniel Corcoran for helping us ‘get over our britishness’ and embracing the humble fart! To Noah Sacre for lending us his fantastic voice to the kooky barnyard animals, Mike Woolley for creating all the wonderful sounds and music to accompany all our books. To the fabulous animators Cath Lloyd, Jack Bonnington and Rob Brindle for their incredible work bringing the artwork to life. Emily Wallis for her beautiful vintage style illustration on Sophie and the Sea and author Lizzie Hards for her gorgeous tale.

It’s been such a fantastic year and we can’t wait to delight you with our interactive storytelling in 2015! Stay tuned!

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