Dublin-based StoryToys scoops top digital prize at Bologna book fair

Firm wins BolognaRagazzi Digital Award for My Very Hungry Caterpillar


Dublin-based digital publisher StoryToys has scooped a prestigious award for an app it created based on the work of author Eric Carle.

The company, which publishes interactive books and games for children, won the BolognaRagazzi Digital Award 2015 for My Very Hungry Caterpillar, beating competition from more than 190 entries.

The award, which is in its fourth year, is given by the organisers of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair to identify innovation and excellence in digital children’s publishing. The award usually has separate fiction and non-fiction categories but this year, the decision was taken to award a single prize for an app that unified both genres.

The StoryToys app gives Carle’s character an interactive 3D form, and allows children to feed, care for and play with their own caterpillar. The 3D environment is based on Carle’s illustrations, which were first published 45 years ago.

Chief product officer at StoryToys Emmet O’Neill said it was “gratifying” to have its work recognised with the award.

“Everyone in StoryToys is incredibly proud and grateful to have received this recognition from the Bologna Ragazzi jury,” he said. “We always believed that we had created something special with My Very Hungry Caterpillar. We wanted to create an immersive, personal experience that helped children to connect with Eric Carle’s iconic character in a new way.”

Juror Max Whitby said the app took the Eric Carle classic and reimagined the story for digital age.

“The kind of interactivity it offers is really immersive,” he said, describing it as the stand out winner. “It also crosses categories, and it was for that reason we decided to not put it in fiction or non-fiction, but just to have the one overall winner because it really does cross both. It’s based on a fiction book but the innovation is in the interactive simulation of the caterpillar’s life cycle.”

The Bologna Ragazzi prize was first introduced in 2012. Previous winners include War Horse, Pierre et le loup (Peter and the Wolf) and Dans Mon Reve (In My Dream).