Bilberry Baby

A review of the eBook for children

The cover of Bilberry Baby

Bilberry Baby is an animated eBook designed for children and available on the iBookstore for iPads. As bilberries play such a prominent role in Swedish cuisine I thought that SwedishFood.com readers, especially those with children or grandchildren, might be interested to find out more about it.

The book is written and illustrated by Amanda Rodham and has been animated by her daughter Chloe. At the moment, Bilberry Baby is only available for iPads. It costs £5.49 (US$ 9.99, 69,00 SEK, 6.99 €).

A story to promote wild food

The 32-page book is a celebration of wild food gathered on moorland as explained on the opening page. 

"The Society for the Promotion of Flourishing Fruits in the Wild have chosen one of their most dedicated gardeners to nurture an untidy patch of bedraggled bilberry bushes on a windswept northern moor. We are expecting the finest berry harvest ever!"

The dedicated gardener is, of course, Bilberry Baby, a shy girl who wears wellington boots and faded patched-up clothes.

"To resemble quite closely the plants in her care,
there is very little choice in the clothes she must wear.
But with a threadbare collar and a faded patched vest,
she's ashamed of looking rather shabbily dressed."

So okay, it doesn't quite scan, but otherwise it paints a good word picture of Bilberry Baby.

Beautifully illustrated

A page from Bilberry Baby

All the pages are beautifully illustrated and reflect the fact that writing the book has been a labour of love. It's a short story that ends happily with Bilberry Baby invited to tea with Emperor Moth.

"High in the heather on a misty hill top,
Everyone listens to the bottle corks pop.
There are pies and puddings and bilberry fizz
making the party go off with a whizz!"

Animations

Still image from the animation in Bilberry Baby

Nearly all the pages include simple short animations. For instance, on the animated version of the above page, bees buzz and Bilberry Baby hops across the page.

The pages do not animate automatically, but only when the play button is pressed and so the book is probably best read to children at bedtime, with each page discussed. Many children will probably want the pages replaying.

Ideally the book should be read after a visit to moorland or after a fruit picking trip. I am sure many children who live far away from moorland areas would still enjoy reading the book, even if they have only ever been blackberrying.

A book for girlie girls

A page from Bilberry Baby

"Something frilly and frivolous with long lacy sleeves,
sparkling silver threads and beads in the weave."

The book is definitely for young girlie girls. It will capture the imagination of many girls, but I can't help also feeling slightly disappointed that it isn't more boy friendly. The moors, wildlife, picking berries and cooking can appeal to boys too. Perhaps girls just need to be girlie sometimes. Perhaps.

Bilberry Baby's Garden Snippets

A page from Bilberry Baby

After the story comes Bilberry Baby's Garden Snippets: six pages of information about moorland including:

•  bilberries,
•  cloudberries,
•  heathers,
•  grasses,
•  bilberry bumblebees and emperor moths,
•  a barometer.

The explanations are clear and simple without being patronising, although I found the inclusion of a barometer rather quaint and somewhat nostalgic. I can hear it now, "What's wrong with using a phone granny?"

Bilberry Baby's Activity Page

The activity page from Bilberry Baby

Finally the book concludes with some activities, including a recipe for Blueberry Moth Cakes (fairy cakes in disguise). Most of the activities are virtual so, for instance, the dressing up activity involves dragging tights, ribbons and wellies etc on to a picture of Bilberry Baby. Quite careful control is required to position the tights on to Bilberry Baby's legs, which very young children might find frustrating.

Useful downloads are available to assist with making pompoms and for colouring by hand, which will be much less frustrating than virtual colouring.

Is it worth buying?

Many daughters and granddaughters will enjoy having this read to them, learning about the countryside in a fun way and doing some of the activities. If you have an iPad and a daughter/granddaughter you will probably find it worth the modest outlay.

Preview before you buy

If you would like to preview Bilberry Baby click here or search in your country's Apple Store for "Bilberry Baby".

John Duxbury

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