Showing posts with label Yana Popova. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yana Popova. Show all posts

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Scavenger Scout: Rock Hound by Shelby Wilde, Yana Popova

Rating: WARTY!

This was a children's book that was available for free in ebook format, so I got hold of it because it had a similar theme to a children's book I'm working on (over three-quarters the way through it!) and I was curious to see how another writer was doing on this topic, and I have to say I was not impressed. This book was rooted in fantasy - mermaids and space travel which is not my thing - not for my book anyway, and while this one started out rhyming, it soon devolved to prose text.

The book opened with a promise that this azurite rock would be on every page to give a child something to search for - make 'em feel part of the adventure, which is fine, but the rock wasn't on every page at all. It wasn't even on every double-page spread, so any kid taking that advice literally was going to be disappointed or frustrated; not a nice thing to do to a child.

That wasn't the worst part though, and I don't know if this is the author's fault or yet another example of Amazon's crappy, Kindle conversion process, so I'll blame both equally: the author for not checking how well or poorly this worked, and Amazon for adding another sick joke to its bloated mega-empire of such jokes. They're unapologetically listening in on you now! Did you know? If you run Alexa, Amazon employees can, without warning or permission, listen in on your conversations in your own home, ostensibly to help Alexa to comprehend you better. This is yet another reason why I will have no truck with Amazon or its publishing business.

But I digress. I typically read books on my phone, and this works great for text books, but for children's picture books, not so well. In the iPad it's better, although still unsatisfactory since most books are still created as print books with little thought given to the electronic format. That's what happened here. The book announces, proudly up front, that it contains "pop-up text" which is a feature that pops up a plain text box with the text in black and white so that on a phone or small tablet for example, you can read it without enlarging the page, which brings its own set of issues. The problem was that once you've triggered the pop-up box - which seemed to happen at the slightest touch of the page - you could not get rid of it, and it blocked the image, not just on that page but on every page after that, too.

There seemed to be no way at all to get rid of it! I tried swiping it away, tapping it away directly on the pop-up, and tapping off the pop-up elsewhere on the screen - which as often as not, swiped the page to the previous one or the next one. I tried a host of other ideas, but nothing worked. This rendered the entire reading experience as an exercise in irritation and aggravation. The only way to get rid of these text boxes that I could find was to go to the contents and tap the next page there, which seemed to remove the pop-up, but as soon as you accidentally tapped on the page again, that blessed sticky text box came right back. I tried spreading the page with a finger and thumb to enlarge the text so I could see it that way instead of having to use those annoying text boxes, but that failed and simply popped-up a text box. It was intensely annoying

That said the fantasy adventure itself wasn't bad, but I had lost interest in this book by that point. The illustrations by Popova were cute and colorful (she can pop-over and illustrate one of my books any time!), but the reading experience sucked. I cannot commend it for that reason.