abc-boka.jpgWhen we picked up Noah from the airport a couple of weeks ago, my daughter and I brought along her ABC book so we could do her reading homework on the airport bus. On the way back from the airport, My daughter requested that Noah and I both type our complete names on the keyboard printed inside the front cover of the book. Actually, since she was two or three, she’s been pretending she has her own powerbook. The shiny, silver, folding mirror I keep in my purse was a favourite when she was a toddler: nowadays a book gives more realism to her games.

Though I swear at my powerbook often enough for its geriatric slowness, I’m quite amused to see it replicated almost exactly in a seven-year-old’s first school reading book. It doesn’t actually say it’s a mac, in fact, the publishers have put their logo, a tree, where my powerbook says “Macintosh PowerBook G3”. I suppose they have copyright clearance.

My daughter blankly refuses to put her digital photos on the web, and has yet to try instant messaging, but she can pick out emails by herself even on my real powerbook, which has keys so worn you can only read half the letters. And it’s obvious, really, isn’t it, to put a keyboard in a book of ABCs?

The website for the book is amazing too, full of the same gorgeous illustrations as in the book, and with games and puzzles and karaoke reading and voices reading and so on. Each page has hints for parents, with suggestions for what to do at home this week on the website. I like having a computer age schoolkid.

Actually, while keyboards in schoolbooks seem new to me, it could be seen as far more revolutionary, in Norway, that the letter O is represented by olives and oregano. A lot has happened in a generation. Thank goodness.

5 thoughts on “learning ABCs

  1. Jorunn

    You’ll have to put www before that Gyldendal url to make it work properly 🙂

  2. Eirik

    I agree wholeheartedly, Jill, this _is_ an amazing book, and it’s been a huge and well-deserved success for the Gyldendal publishing house. This is also due to the beautiful illustrations (in fact, we found the illustrator for my latest book in this ABC – her name is Ann Avranden 🙂

  3. Jill

    www. hereby added to link, and it really is a great book. Aurora only brings it home from school on Mondays, and it’s like a special privilege to get to do “our” Monday homework: reading and playing games on two new pages in the ABC book 🙂

    Eirik, perhaps you know: is the website that goes with the book free because of the goodness of Gyldendal’s heart or is some kind of state funding involved?

  4. Eirik

    It’s been a while since I was involved with Gyldendal Undervisning myself (I have a murky past as a failed textbook writer), so I don’t know if they got funding for this web site (they always apply for funding, of course, as it’s a huge money drain). It is rather lavish as a attempt at “textbook lock-in” (the idea is to ensure that users stay loyal to Gyldendal’s books by using the accompanying site) though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it received some of the millions spent by the Department of Education on various web ventures.

    As for the possible copyright infringement issue, everyone I’ve talked to at Gyldendal seem to think that the laptop depicted could be any laptop at all. With the market share Apple has in the Norwegian school system these days, I would think they would be grateful for all the free marketing they can get. 🙂

  5. Jill

    That the laptop could be any laptop? Excuse me while I try to stop laughing… But yes, absolutely, if you’re going to copy a keyboard, why not one with an apple key and good design – and heck, how original can you get with a keyboard design. Actually the function keys are slightly different too. They haven’t included the icons for adjusting the volume and brightness. I suppose it might be a slightly different model.

    No, I’m pleased to have an apple key in the ABC reader.

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