New iPad app is like Netflix for children’s books

The Right Click

You can file the new FarFaria app into the "Why didn't I think of this?" folder.

The iPad app can best be described as Netflix for children's books. That is, after a free 30-day trial, you pay $3.99 a month to have unlimited access to a wide range of kid's books, designed for those aged 2 through 9.

While the selection could stand to be broader and more familiar — though 100 books is not a bad start -- FarFaria excels not just in its concept but in its execution.

Developed by Intuary, FarFaria books can be found in one of two ways. One is a map of a fantasy world and each continent or island is based on a specific book theme, such as Animal Kingdom, Fable Hills, Fairytale Forest, Adventure Island, and so on. As you'd expect, when you tap on one of these locations you'll only see books from that specific genre (GoodLand, for example, offers books with themes like honesty, love, confidence and determination).

The second way is to tap the Featured tab and see what books are new and recommended, be it Princess and the Pea, The Giant Sea Monster, Trucks or Little Ben Bee. You can't search for a book by title, author or theme.

The books can be read in portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal) mode. With the former, the entire page will fill up the iPad's 9.7-inch screen, while holding the iPad sideways shows two pages at a time. For either scenario, you'd flip through the digital pages with your fingertip as you would a paper book. Books can be bookmarked as a "Favourite," and readers — be it the kids or parents — can return to the beginning of the book with a single tap. Feedback can also be sent to Intuary for each book, plus you can email or Facebook what you're reading, if desired.

Book quality is high for the most part -- just don't expect to see familiar franchises, such as Dr. Seuss or anything from Robert Munsch, for example; FarFaria says these books have been created specifically for the app by writers and illustrators from around the world. But classic tales are here, too, such as Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots, Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel.

FarFaria will launch at least three new stories per week, says the company.