Over this year, we have collaborated with the Rhode Island School of Design in meaningful ways. On a few occasions, Demibooks will publish apps under our own brand when there is a work we really believe in. We’re honored to bring RISD faculty member Mary Jane Begin’s works to this exciting digital format under the Demibooks banner. The first, “Before I Go to Sleep”, launches today on Storytime and on the App Store. Happy Holidays from the Demibooks team! Written By: Mary Jane Begin, an award-winning children’s book Illustrator, and faculty member in the Illustration Department at the Rhode Island School of Design. Before I Go to Sleep When I originally illustrated this classic poem by the 19th century poet, Thomas Hood, I was faced with an interesting and challenging problem: The poem represents the fantasy of a young boy imagining he’s many different animals, each in
different scenes cavorting with a variety of unrelated character. Stringing the images together to create a sense of connection was one thing… but trying to make a lion look like a little boy- was quite another! I finally settled on using a dog companion, who follows the “boy” regardless of animal form, through out the book, and using pajama stripes on each animal as a “visual clue” that identifies the “animal as boy” for the young reader. Recently, I partnered with Demibooks Studio to develop an ebook app of Before I Go to Sleep on their Composer platform. Because visual clues help young readers identify and connect to content…they look for the “clue” and are satisfied by the reward of the discovery. Young children take great comfort in repetition. In building expectation on each page-then satisfying it- we hoped to engage the child reader with the excitement of a new technology, a repetition of expectations met, in an enhanced experience of reading. It was essential that the interactive version be true to these clues, and so the Demibooks Compositor, Stacey Williams-Ng and I made sure to keep the dog as an active, animated element on every page with sound and movement, and to make sure that the pajama stripe was visible and prominent. Literacy in picture books is supported by images, and when the pictures move, make sounds or speak…the potential for deeper meaning and experience grows with it! Our hope, in creating this ebook version of Before I Go to Sleep, is to add to the experience of discovery and expectation on every page, build a young reader’s comprehension, and inspire a child to imagine that he or she can be anything they want to be… Including a chimpanzee with musical ability!