Children’s Literature in the World of Apps: Hypermedia Adaptations of Classic and Contemporary Picturebooks
This analysis aims to describe the main features of hypermedia literary apps for children by considering a corpus of adaptations of classic and contemporary picturebooks. In particular, it highlights the multimodal nature that defines hypermedia texts and their meanings, as well as the interactivity that programs different degrees of readers’ involvement and the various ways of using and exploring the virtual space of touchscreens. By describing some hypermedia features deployed in a selection of classic texts, I focus on the hypermedia adaptations of three contemporary Italian picturebooks: Iole, la balena mangiaparole by Gioia Marchegiani, Amico ragnolo by Gloria Francella, and Love, the App by Alberto Vanni. These were chosen to illustrate the significant literary use of several textual materials, the implementation of different types of interactivity, and the recreation of the material characteristics of the print edition through the virtual page. Founded on the appropriation and re-interpretation of the source, the adaptations considered here show a mix of literary intents and digital technologies, while highlighting the substantial homogeneity of the hypermedia strategies used in adapting classic and contemporary texts.