Groundlings: The Abandoned Burrow
A Children's Interactive Adventure Book
This book is available for download with Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device. Multi-touch books can be read with Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device. Books with interactive features may work best on an iOS device. Apple Books on your Mac requires OS X 10.9 or later.
Our beautifully illustrated CyberTale eBooks are full of adventure with original storytelling that teaches STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) principles, as well as fun facts about animals, characters, the environment and the world around us through high-tech and uniquely fun interactivity.
Groundlings – The Abandoned Burrow is the first book in a series we are developing.
What is a Groundling? Well… Groundlings grow inside energy pods that are formed by healthy soil in the earth. These pods draw their energy from the type of soil they form in, giving each Groundling its unique shape, color and personality. This is the story of a Groundling named Clado that lives in the soil underneath a forest. His journey begins when he is sent to investigate a neighboring burrow that he finds abandoned and dripping with strange-smelling ooze. Upon further examination, Clado runs into more than he can handle when a mysterious creature appears, sending him on a quest for answers with his new found traveling companions.
What's New in Version 1.1
It's off to a good start
The graphics in this book were nice. However, I was disappointed that one person appeared to do all of the voices (and not very well). My son (age 5) has a very long attention span for books, and we had a hard time getting through this one. It was too long and the ending was weird. With some overall changes, I think it could be better.
Good characters, visually appealing, but a bit on the long side
I was skeptical when I sat down with my son to read this. He's what the education experts refer to as a "reluctant reader." They're understating it, by a lot.
But "Groundlings" and its underground creatures captured his attention immediately. Its setting gives the digital illustrators a chance to play with light in interesting ways -- glowing pods, shimmering crystals, sparkly water beads. Those things are an immediate draw to any child who's visually oriented, as my son is.
The plot, which involves a reluctant character's journey away from the comforts and familiarity of home, wasn't the main selling point for my son, who's 10 and is still far more interested in the interactive elements of e-books than in the story line. This book, thankfully, had just enough interaction to keep him interested, but not so much that it became a distraction.
The main character is Clado, who is sent on a journey to find a neighboring clan that has gone missing. Along the way, he must remember the directions he was given on how to navigate the tunnels, find light sources and open the burrow of the neighboring clan.
Following directions, in fact, is a key theme of the book -- both the main character and the reader must do so to progress through the story. That's a big plus from my standpoint: Anything that gets my son in the habit of reading and following directions is a good thing. And anything that shows the value of confronting your fears and taking on a job you really don't want -- as Clado must do -- holds a valuable life lesson as well.
I can't honestly say my son absorbed that lesson, as he was too busy examining the visual aspects of every frame to fully appreciate the book's message.
Even that fascination had its limits, though. As a child more accustomed to apps than e-books, my son wanted something less linear -- options to do something other than proceed through the book, which is quite long and doesn't offer any page numbering or progress bar to indicate how far you have left.
It could easily take two hours for a child to get through the book, which is far more time than my son is willing to spend. He's also a stickler for spelling and no doubt would have pointed out the "dessert" that should have been "desert" -- if he hadn't grown tired of the book half an hour earlier.
For children who do become absorbed in the story line, however, the book is sure to lead to pleas for the next one in the series. It turns out that this is just Part 1, which concludes with Clado and two companions preparing to set out on a quest to a land that promises to be spectacular. Who could resist? Even I was a bit curious as to what was around the bend.
My Two Boys Loved It!
Groundlings: The Abandoned Burrow follows the adventures of a Groundling – creatures grown in pods underground. The main Groundling is named Clado.
Clado isn’t the most chipper fella roaming around in the soil. He frequently is frightened, and is fraught with pessimism. One can’t help but wonder if he’s a distant relative of Eeyore.
His friends typically prod him into action, though.
CyberTales' expertise is on full display here. The quality of the illustration is stellar, from Clado’s underground surroundings to various crystals that are integral to the story.
This was our first experience with an e-book, and I can’t help but wonder where they’ve been all my life.
Children’s books are a ripe medium for an e-book, as the story can very easily become interactive. “The Abandoned Burrow” didn’t disappoint. My sons were certainly interested in touching parts of the story and moving things along.
They were even excited to read it again. That’s not easy.
A fair bit of constructive criticism: tighten up the story and make it shorter – especially if this is going to be a series. It took too long for us to finish the book, and was never accomplished in one sitting. It’s an important endeavor, as kids today have as short of an attention span as they probably have in the history of humankind.
Also, it might make things more interesting to hire professional voice actors to narrate and voice the characters. Those people are in that business for a reason: They really make a difference. I believe they certainly would here.
All in all, though, the book was a thumbs-up with the critics who mattered most, my sons!