|Founded||February 16, 1992|
|Defunct||September 14, 1998|
|Owner||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
Living Books was a series of interactive storybooks for children, first produced by Brøderbund and then spun off into a jointly owned (with Random House) subsidiary, which were distributed on CD-ROM for Mac OS and Microsoft Windows. The series began with the release of Just Grandma and Me (an adaptation of the book by Mercer Mayer) in 1992 till it ended in 1998; other titles in the series included The Tortoise and the Hare, Arthur's Teacher Trouble (and other adaptations of books by Marc Brown), Dr. Seuss, and Berenstain Bears titles.
Atlantan production company Red Rubber Ball (later Little Ark Interactive) created a series of biblical-themes interactive storybooks under contract from Living Books in the late 1990s, and developed under the direction of members of the original Living Books team.
By 2013, Wanderful, Inc. obtained the rights of the series and ported most of them to the iOS platforms and also added additional languages to the products. The Dr. Seuss and Little Critter titles were ported to iOS by Oceanhouse Media.
Games in the series
|Title||Author(s)||Year||Other Language(s)||Number of Consecutive Pages||Notes|
|Just Grandma and Me, 1983||Mercer Mayer||February 16, 1992||12||Version 2.0 released in 1997, which included a game. Version 2.0 also features a different Spanish dub, and is Castilian as opposed to Latin.|
|Arthur's Teacher Trouble, 1986||Marc Brown||September 21, 1992||24|
|The Tortoise and the Hare||Aesop||March 22, 1993||12||The first original Living Books story that is not based on any real books, because Mark Schlichting, founder of Living Books, retold this classic fable. This version uses humorous twists and cartoon animal characters.|
|The New Kid on the Block, 1984||Jack Prelutsky and James Stevenson||September 20, 1993||17|
|Ruff's Bone||Eli Noyes||February 7, 1994||12||The second original Living Books story, but it's actually produced by Colossal Pictures and created and written by Eli Noyes, the producer of the 1964 short claymation film Clay or the Origin of Species. The style is different from the other two original Living Books games.|
|Little Monster at School, 1978||Mercer Mayer||July 18, 1994||18||Philips CD-i released in 1993.|
|Arthur's Birthday, 1989||Marc Brown||September 12, 1994||13||Version 2.0 released in 1997, which includes an increased resolution and two minigames.|
|Harry and the Haunted House||Mark Schlichting||October 24, 1994||12||The third Living Books game that is not based on anyone's books. This is the only original Living Books story that was officially created by Mark Schlichting, founder of Living Books. This was actually written and published as a paperback book.|
|The Berenstain Bears Get in a Fight, 1982||Stan and Jan Berenstain||April 10, 1995||
|Dr. Seuss's ABC, 1963||Dr. Seuss||September 18, 1995||26||Sing-a-long is included. It appeared on Adventure Workshop: Preschool-1st Grade, and Tots.|
|Sheila Rae, the Brave, 1987||Kevin Henkes||April 15, 1996||12||A game and 7 sing-a-longs are included.|
|The Berenstain Bears in the Dark, 1982||Stan and Jan Berenstain||May 6, 1996||12||2 games are included.|
|Green Eggs and Ham, 1960||Dr. Seuss||July 15, 1996||19||3 games are included.|
|Stellaluna, 1993||Jannell Cannon||August 12, 1996||14||A game is included.|
|Arthur's Reading Race, 1996||Marc Brown||February 17, 1997||12||3 games are included.|
|The Cat in the Hat, 1957||Dr. Seuss||August 11, 1997||12||A game is included.|
|Arthur's Computer Adventure, 1997||Marc Brown||May 25, 1998||16||5 games are included.|
|D.W. the Picky Eater, 1995||Marc Brown||September 14, 1998||10||Also known as Arthur's Adventures With D.W.. New menu system. Four games are included.|
Almost all the CD-ROMs in the series give the user the same four options:
- Read to Me button: The story is read to the user.
- Let Me Play button: Takes the user to the story and allows interaction after each page is read.
- Options button: Takes the user to the Options menu where they can see the credits, and any demos/previews if available and choosing the page from the Let Me Play button and clicking the "OK" button.
- Quit button: Exits the program and returns to the user's computer desktop.
Several former Brøderbund leaders have released selected titles as fully interactive animated applications for Apple mobile devices, as well as for Android as Wanderful Interactive Storybooks.
Brøderbund released two compilations of the stories. The first one was titled "Three for Me Library Volume 1™" which contained "Sheila Rae, the Brave", "Just Grandma and Me" and "Little Monster at School". The second one was titled "Three for Me Library Volume 2™" which contained "The Berenstain Bears Get in a Fight", "Tortoise and the Hare" and "Harry and the Haunted House".
Computer Gaming World in 1993 praised Just Grandma and Me and Arthur's Teacher Trouble, describing Living Books as "Broderbund's acclaimed series". Publishers Weekly, in a review of Dr. Seuss' ABC, called that title "one of the best children's CD-ROMs to date" and stated that, "[...] the producers' fondness for Dr. Seuss and their fidelity to his sense of refined silliness spill into every sequence." Simson L. Garfinkel and Beth Rosenberg found that the CD-ROMs played better on Macs than on PCs. Although they found the titles to be of high quality in a market flooded with "questionable" releases for children, they stated that not all of them lived up to the company's educational claims (noting Dr. Seuss' ABC and Arthur's Reading Race as exceptions) and felt that the added dialogue supplementing the book's text was sometimes "out of character". Arthur's Teacher Trouble, The Tortoise and the Hare, Ruff's Bone, and Little Monster at School all received a very high score of over 90.00 in the book CD-ROMs Rated by Les Kranz; in the review for Little Monster at School, the graphics and the number of clickable areas were described as positives.
- Disney's Animated Storybook
- Reader Rabbit's Reading Development Library
- Magic Tales
- The Kidstory Series
- Series Review "THE LIVING BOOKS Series by Living Books/Broderbund." McMath, Chuck. Game Bytes Vol 1. Num. 21. 1994. Retrieved March 24, 2007.
- "Wanderful Storybooks on the App Store". iTunes. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
- "Wanderful Storybooks - Living Books". Wanderful Storybooks. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
- "Oceanhouse Media Apps". Oceanhouse. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
- "About Us". www.little-ark.com. Retrieved 2017-03-05.
- "Licensing Opportunities". Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
- Brøderbund (April 12, 1997). "The Three For Me Library Volume 1™". Archived from the original on April 12, 1997. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
- Brøderbund (April 12, 1997). "The Three For Me Library Volume 2™". Archived from the original on April 12, 1997. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
- "Forging Ahead or Fit to be Smashed?". Computer Gaming World. April 1993. p. 24. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
- "Multimedia Reviews: Dr. Seuss' ABC". Publishers Weekly. New York: Cahners Publishing Company. 242 (35): 41. August 28, 1995. ISSN 0000-0019.
- Garfinkel, Simson L.; Beth Rosenberg (February 5, 1998). "Bringing kids' books to life". Boston Globe Online. Globe Newspaper Company. Retrieved November 2, 2009.
- Kranz, Les (1994). CD-ROMs Rated: A Guide to the Best and Worst CD ROMs & Multimedia Titles. Laura L. Armer, Adrienne Brown, Joel Gershon, and Pamela Thomasson (Senior Reviewers), and Marjorie Glass, Brian Harrison, Douglas W, Horner, Corolyn Huesman, Dan Laxton, Vivian Laxton, and Josh Sinton (Reviewers). McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-912052-0.