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‘The Brooklyn Bridge,’ ‘The Parthenon,’ and The ‘Taj Mahal’: Mikaya Goes Digital

All 12 of the titles in Elizabeth Mann’s “Wonders of the World” series (Mikaya Press) are now available as iBooks. We took a look at 3 of them.

Screen from 'The Taj Mahal' (Mann) illus. by Alan Witschonke

Title(s): The Brooklyn Bridge; The Parthenon; The Taj Mahal
Elizabeth Mann
Alan Witschonke; Yuan Lee; and Alan Witschonke
Published by:
Mikaya Press
Developed by:
Mikaya Digital
iOS, requires 4.2 or later
$6.99 ea.; purchased through the iBooks app 1.2 or later

Gr 3-8-From the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty to Machu Picchu and the Taj Mahal, through 12 beautifully designed volumes, author Elizabeth Mann has been exploring humankind’s greatest architectural and engineering feats. Now the titles in her “Wonders of the World” series (Mikaya Press), known for their superb visuals and accessible texts, are available in a digital format.

What does the iBook experience offer that the print doesn’t? Bookmarking and adjustable brightness levels, a visual index consisting of thumbnail images that can be used to jump from page to page, and a zoom feature. The latter effectively enlarges the print size and comes in handy when viewing the numerous archival photos, detailed diagrams, and colorful reproductions in these titles. Those familiar with the print versions may notice that the images are in a slightly different sequence in the new format and that illustrations that shared a page in the books are likely to be spread over several screens on the iPad. Neither change affects readers’ experiences of these dramatic and engaging stories.

The books also offer a (very thorough) search capability that pulls and lists lines and page numbers from the texts, and presents tabs to initiate Web and/or Wikipedia searches. If readers choose to leave the book for a Web entry, they’ll need to return to their iPad screen and tap the iBook icon to resume their reading.

While some viewers may miss the oversize pictures and the nifty gatefolds of the print titles, the luminous images and capabilities of the iBook may be more to the liking of others. Few will find the iPhone or iPod touch comfortable for viewing or reading these titles. —Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal