Houghton Mifflin Harcourt unveils Curious George books specially formatted for the iPad

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the venerable Boston publisher, said Monday that it is releasing two special iPad versions from the Curious George book series that enable readers to enjoy old stories in new ways.

“The interactive multi-touch format features embedded tools that allow children to enjoy an immersive reading experience by playing an active role in George’s adventures,” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said in a press release.

Augmenting the text are embedded slideshows and animation as well as touch-responsive puzzles and digital mazes.

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“We wanted to create a digital storybook that didn’t distract children from the narrative, but instead allowed them to help the story along by completing activities that are closely tied to the plot,” Cheryl Toto, the company’s senior vice president of strategy and planning, said in a statement.

The first two multi-touch iPad versions in the series, “Curious George Says Thank You” and “Curious George in the Big City,” are now available in the Apple iBookstore and priced at $3.99 for a limited time.

Two new titles in the Curious George Multi-Touch Storybook and Activity Series will launch every month for the next six months, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said in its release.

Earlier this month, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced the release of a range of interactive e-books to tie in with the forthcoming movie release of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said it used iBooks Author tool from Apple Inc. to add interactive maps and other features to by J.R.R. Tolkien’s text.

The maps are of Hobbiton, Rivendell, and beyond, and there’s also a height chart that shows how the book’s lead character, Bilbo, matches up to assorted goblins, the company said.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishes such authors as Philip Roth, Temple Grandin, Tim O’Brien, and Umberto Eco; its line-up of children’s authors and illustrators includes Lois Lowry, Chris Van Allsburg, and David Wiesner.

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