Pickatale, a mobile audiobook and storybook app for children aged 0–12, has launched in the UK.
The multilingual app, which already has a presence in home markets Norway and Sweden as well as China, is an "ever-expanding" library of over 1,000 licensed and authored fiction and non-fiction titles that have been digitised with audio functions providing guided help to those learning to read. Licensed characters include Thomas the Tank Engine while stories hail from traditional publishers like Oxford University Press.
The company's c.e.o. Erik Harrell, formerly of Kahoot, said it had been attracted to the dynamism of the UK's children's book market. Next year, in 2020, Pickatale also plans to launch in Germany, Netherlands and USA.
"The UK is such a dynamic market with brilliant children’s book content so it was a natural next step for Pickatale," explained Harrell. "We’re really looking forward to working with UK publishers to offer reluctant readers and the digital generation a new way to experience quality books."
Sigbjørn Dugal founded the company and its flagship app in 2013. The Pickatale team also includes James Tavendale as content director, formerly international sales director at Bonnier Publishing. Pickatale costs £6.99 a month (or £49.99 for an annual subscription) and is available to download from the App Store or Google Play with a two-week free trial.
Dugal said: “There are so many apps for children out there, but we see that many of these are addictive without any kind of learning value. We wanted to do something about this, so we created an app to develop a love of reading in children.”
An audiobook option allows children to follow the text while a narrator reads, with words highlighted in time with the audio. This function is designed to help younger children or less confident readers start to recognise different words and pronunciations. Older children or more confident readers can choose to read the book unaided; but if they get stuck, interactive settings allow them to click on words or images for audible help.