A Nampa man has taken his skills with computers and turned a children’s bedtime story into a new interactive e-book. The work is a labor of love, literally. The book is a legacy for his daughter who was the inspiration for the main character.
Randy Jamison reads the interactive e-book “Jubitron: The Girl Robot” with his nine-year-old daughter Jubilee. “Isn’t this your favorite page?” asks Jamison. “Yeah, it’s another one of my favorites,” says Jubilee.
Narrator: “One day, Jubitron the Girl Robot and her very best friend, Mr. Alligator, and Little Birdie, decided to go on a lovely little picnic.”
Jamison created Jubitron out of stories he used to tell Jubilee at bedtime when she was three. He wanted to publish the first story, “The Lovely Little Picnic,” as a physical book. But when that didn’t pan out, he turned to his other creation, a company called Curious Media. “We do a lot of web development, design, illustration, animation, and game development for companies like Disney, PBS Kids, Scholastic, Random House.”
His business in Nampa created the websites for the Disney movies Wreck-It Ralph and Phineas and Ferb, even some on-line Winnie the Pooh games. Jamison took his idea, and his team of computer gurus and created an e-book application, complete with original artwork and music. He says Jubitron is different from most other e-books. “You get to do something, you get to interact with the characters in the story.”
For example: “An olive comes flying out and bounces off the lid and hovers in mid-air, waiting for you to interact with it. So you can grab the olive and throw it around the screen, you can grab more olives out of the can.”
The reader can control something on every page of the book, from the tongue of Mr. Alligator to the rain clouds that threaten Jubitron’s picnic. Many of the pieces of the story came from daughter Jubilee.
“I would say, they went on a picnic and Mr. Alligator brought the…and she’d come up with something and she came up with cake,” says Jamison. “I don’t actually really like cake that much, I only like vanilla and red velvet, that’s it,” says Jubilee. “And so she kind of had her hand in the story all along,” Jamison adds.
Jubilee still loves to play with the e-book, even though she’s read it more times than she can remember. “A million,” she says.
Jamison says the Jubitron e-book is the first of what will be a series about the girl robot, all based on his Jubilee. For his younger daughter Piper, he’s creating an interactive toy. And he’s dreaming up something new for his unborn son. “Yeah, that’s what’s great about kids, they’re such great sources of inspiration and motivation.”
Jubilee pipes up, “we make him draw pictures almost all the time for us.”
Jamison says "The Lovely Little Picnic" is getting good reviews from Apple and is in four app stores altogether. Jamison says around 100 copies sell each day. He hopes to produce a second Jubitron story soon.
Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio