Children’s Books - Go Hi Tech
The Woodlands, Texas - August 1, 1998 - The world of children's literature may never be the same after August 1, 1998. That is when Houston based Jamsa Press plans to release its first interactive title - Happy and Max - Locked in the Attic. Dr. Kris Jamsa, the founder and President of Jamsa Press explains why - "The Happy and Max series of books features state-of-the-art 3D graphics along with a multimedia CD-ROM that works in a PC, a Mac, or in an audio CD player." "In addition," Jamsa went on to say, "the Happy and Max series feature 64 full-color pages in a market place where 32-page books are the norm."
Jamsa Press published the books under the "Kids Interactive" brand name. The target market: children between the ages of 3 to 7. The exclusive use of colorful 3D graphics, in a style popularized by the movie "Toy Story", might make the books a hit by themselves, but the versatility of how these books can be used make them truly special. There are a number of ways children can enjoy each story.
In a traditional way, a parent can read the book to the child. Next, the child can insert the CD-ROM (packaged with each book) into a PC or Mac and the computer will read the book to the child. The child is able to interact with the images on the computer screen. Click on the window and they may hear the sound of birds in the trees. Click on a picture hanging on the wall, and zoom in for a closer view. Click on a word, and the computer will pronounce it.
Each book contains dozens of interactive elements for the child to find. Children will also enjoy two interactive games included on the CD that are educational and entertaining. The software was designed specifically for first time computer users, or parents who are not regular computer users.
To further enhance the value of this new format, there is yet a third way children can enjoy the book. Just pop the CD into your home or car stereo system and the story will be read to the child. A musical chime is sounded to alert the child to turn the page.
Jamsa Press intends to release the first four "Happy and Max" titles in May for distribution over the summer months. Parents who are looking for ways to get their kids ready for school in the fall will find this interactive approach to children's literature well suited for today's youth. Children will really love reading about the adventures of the young boy named Max and his Dalmatian puppy, Happy. Parents will find the interactive nature of these books to be a good alternative to television.
While Dr. Jamsa is the author of the books, the character design, 3D graphics, animation, programming and music were done by the epic software group, inc. based in The Woodlands, Texas. "We were looking for a team of multimedia professionals who could pull off a project this size and were surprised to find a local company that could do it", said Jamsa. Vic Cherubini, President of epic said, "Most of our work involves the creation of electronic catalogs and 3D animations for industrial applications. The Happy and Max series has been very challenging both technically and from a creative standpoint, but we have really enjoyed working on it."
Perhaps the best news for consumers is the price of the books. At $18.95 they are priced like children's books, not software (typically priced from $29.95 - $49.95). The market for children's entertainment is fiercely competitive, but Dr. Jamsa feels the time is right for this type of product. "We have done our homework, and we have done these books right," said Jamsa. If he is correct, Kids Interactive will set a new standard in the children's book industry.