Free Yellow Submarine App An Interactive Journey

The Beatles Yellow Submarine has found new interactive life today, as a free app/eBook available from Apple’s iBookstore. The announcement, which arrived via TheBeatles.com site, comes just after the one-year anniversary of the Fab Four landing in the iTunes store.

Readers experience the familiar story from the 2004 book first-hand by bringing the story’s wacky characters and underwater adventures to life with a touch. The psychedelic book, designed by Fiona Andreanelli, features Heinz Edelmann’s original artwork from the film beautifully presented and animated. The movie’s content is a perfect playground for the interactive app/eBook format, and we were generally impressed as we flipped through the pages.

Most illustrations showed movement without a user prompt (like the propeller on the yellow submarine) and clicking an image caused colors to change, words to appear, characters to move, and much more. However, it would have been helpful if the developers had added some explicit directions. At times, especially if there were other apps running in the background, it was unclear whether the image had no animation or if I was experiencing lag. As a result, we had to flip through the book multiple times to get the full effect of the added animation and information. But, with children’s books that parents have to read over and over and over again, that might not be a bad thing.

Alongside the illustrations are 14 full-color videos taken from the original 1968 film, as well as audio clips from George Martin’s original score and classic hits from The Beatles, including “All You Need is Love.” We were happy to hear the upbeat audio scattered throughout the narrative, prompted by a touch (again, lacking direction or prompts, so they appear as hidden gems). The video clips can be viewed either at full screen or embedded in the book.

Despite a few hiccups of us missing prompts to find more content, the eBook was a delight to read and offered a lot of surprises. It’s definitely worth a free download to experience a fantastical new spin on the eBook.

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