Hi! I’m Kryssy Hurley.
Welcome to the ‘Time for Bed Little Ted’ website!
A Children’s Bedtime Story
‘Little Ted’ has been waiting to be written for some time now….
Over ten years ago my late mother gave my eldest son a beautifully made cloth book, entitled, ‘Goodnight Teddy’. There were no words on the cloth pages, but Teddy could be washed, dressed, given a glass of milk, kissed good night e.t.c. My children delighted in the interaction that the tiny cloth pieces provided. We talked and laughed about Ted, and the book became a favourite bedtime story with all of us. Although my children are reading lots of different books now, there are still many picture books about the house and I can’t resist buying more for my own collection, from time to time.
Reading habits seem to have changed somewhat since then and every member of our family now owns a tablet of some kind. We all continue to cherish books but digital media plays an increasing, though not always welcome, part in our lives.
I wanted to write ‘Time for Bed, Little Ted’ specifically as an interactive story for a tablet. It wasn’t so much a story that was turned into an app, rather a story that grew as an app – or, at least, an ebook, to begin with. When the new Kids Kindle Book Creator software arrived, with enlarged text pop-ups and the facility for authors to easily incorporate text and images, I was very excited and keen to try it out. As a first step towards ‘Little Ted’ being born, I put together a very simple ebook, with text pop-ups, for the Kindle device. I worked with David Batchelor, a freelance illustrator, using a subdued colour palette and vector art, to create an illustrated story which we hoped would be suitable to be read as a non-stimulating bedtime story and also for children with autism. From feedback I received I hope we achieved this.
Since then, and as my learning has increased, ‘Time For Bed Little Ted’ has moved on considerably. I felt the ebook was a good starting point but I also felt very restricted and unable to incorporate most of the features and interactions I had hoped for. At this point, I decided to start completely from scratch, with just the text as my starting point. I went through the process of exploring a range of art work and found a new illustrator for the app. With this new project I envisaged a completely different style of illustrations and was lucky enough to find what I wanted with Monika Suska. I spent even longer looking for an app developer and, through word of mouth and recommendations, came across Blake Harris. Blake is responsible for turning my excel document and notes into the app I had imagined. He was also able to add those little touches that would enhance the apps appeal.
As ‘Time For Bed Little Ted’ is a bedtime story I hope I have created a calming narrative, with a rhyming, rhythmic text. Although there is some use of primary colours, the illustrations also use tones which are thought to be less disruptive to the body’s production of melatonin. The interactions are kept minimal and relevant. Low volume and brightness settings can also be adjusted on the user’s device when used at bedtime or a more effective option is to download f.lux – software which adjusts colours to suit the time of day. https://justgetflux.com/
The story app ‘Time For Bed Little Ted’ uses detailed hand drawn illustrations by Monika Suska, with complementary touch and sound sprites so that children can engage even more with the story. It includes many personal and social discussion points e.g. washing hands, dressing, tidying up e.t.c. which are as relevant to neurotypical children as to those with special needs. Those familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy will recognise implicit aspects of the early years curriculum, as the story provides opportunities for the child to describe, list, explain e.t.c. There are also colour and number references which link with early learning. As the app is aimed predominantly at the US market, I have used an American narration voice, with American spellings within the app but have added a UK spelling version for my UK readers. I have, however, reverted to my native English spelling on the website!
There is still much conflicting research around use of electronic devices with children. In my own household, we continue to experiment with a range of strategies but try to limit screen time close to bedtime. Some recent research states that the use of a tablet device is most beneficial when shared between parent and child. When used in this way, it can encourage the social interaction that aids education and learning. I also believe sharing any hobby or activity inevitably brings children and their parents closer. My children delight in teaching or showing me how to use new software or how to play the latest game. As a teacher, I am very excited about the use of tablets in schools and have seen and heard of technology being used in very creative ways.
As a parent of a child with ASD, I love bedtime stories that help children to relax and switch off from the day’s worries and which bring parent and child closer together in a shared experience. Getting sufficient sleep is a key factor with all children in reducing behavioural issues and lowering anxiety levels. Bedtime stories, in whatever form, also cultivate good reading habits from an early age, develop listening skills and language development.
In turning the story into an interactive app, I needed to think about music and narration. I considered several pieces of music but finally chose a composition by musician, Dan Budd, of Funky Punk Music.
Narration is in Spanish and English. As I speak fairly good conversational French, my choice of Spanish, which I don’t speak at all, may seem a little strange! The reason for this is that the story was written with a US audience in mind and I felt that Spanish would be more appropriate as a second language narration. A French narration may well be added in the future! I was very lucky to find two excellent narrators – English actress Jasmine Hyde and Spanish voice artist Alejandra Labraga. Whilst writing and re-writing I discussed the choice of language with my editor, Laura Backes, and it has been interesting tailoring a story to a mixed audience.
Enjoy the site and the app and feel free to email me if you have any questions!
The story app is now available on both the Android and iOS App Stores: