May 6, 2011

Author Interview: Donna Guthrie

Donna Guthrie

Donna Guthrie has written several children’s book, including Mrs. Gigglebelly Is Coming for Tea, which was first published in 1990. Just in time for Mother’s Day, Gigglebelly is giggling into the digital age — the book is now an app for the iPhone or iPad for only 99 cents.

Illustrated by Katy Keck Arnsteent, the app-version of Guthrie’s book looks great on the iPad. (DaddyTips was provided with a review copy.) It is easy enough for a child to navigate, and includes a “read to me” mode as well as the more traditional “parent reads the book” mode. (Also known as, well, a book.) DaddyTips asked Guthrie a few questions via email; an edited version of the interview follows.

DaddyTips: What was it like converting your book from print to an app?
Donna Guthrie:
It was my first experience in converting the written page to an app so I am not the expert. This is a whole new world for me. I am working with someone who understands the technical part, so all I had to do was scan the pictures, arrange for a reader and hire a studio to do the sound track.

DT: Do you think the iPad is the future of children’s books?
I think the future is wide open. I seen parents and children with the iPad in restaurants and on the bus and train. I see children reading in the back of the car using an iPad so I think that this is just the tip of the iceberg. But, as someone who loves the feel of a picture book, I hope there is still many of us who will buy the physical book.

DT: Why do you think kids will enjoy the book?
DG: I think the youngest reader will be challenged to figure out who is Mrs. Gigglebelly Is Coming for Tea. It is a mystery directed at the picture book reader but if you look closely all the clues are in the illustrations.

DT: Which do you prefer, print or e-books?
DG: Ah, I think you might call me “old school” I am still  reading a real newspaper every morning so the printed book is much more appealing to me. But that said I have a Kindle that I take everywhere with me and recommend it to all my friends who are tired of bookshelves bulging with books we’ve read. So for now, I am still in love with the physical picture book but I’m open to change. Isn’t that what life all about?


Donna Guthrie tells us that she has written over 23 books for children, adding that Mrs. Gigglebelly Is Coming for Tea is only the first book that she plans to app-ify. Next up is The Witch Has an Itch, which will feature Guthrie’s voice.

Mrs. Gigglebelly Is Coming for Tea is available for 99 cents in the iTunes App Store.