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From the Aesop in Rhyme series

by Aesop & adapted by Marmaduke Park & illustrated by Umesh Shukla & developed by Auryn Inc.

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: April 9th, 2011
Publisher: Auryn

An arch 19th-century version of the fable, sans explicit moral, is paired to illustrations of silhouette figures flexed in lively ways by barred “Scanimation”-type screens.

Viewers can opt to take an active or a (semi-) passive role. With the Read-to-Me option, a plummy-voiced narrator reads aloud as the pages and the superimposed screen advance automatically. Children reading the text silently can manually swipe to the next page and drag the screen over the black silhouettes at any chosen rate to control the speed with which the contenders nod, gesticulate and dash along. Park’s formal but not stuffy language echoes that of the poet’s contemporary Edward Lear and matches like qualities in the art nicely. “So at last this slow walker came up with the hare, / And there fast asleep did he spy her. / And he cunningly crept with such caution and care, / That she woke not, although he pass’d by her.” Just for fun and a bit of added animation, the text appears on sign boards that swing down from the top and can be cut loose to fall and shatter violently into individual words. The free version of the app is subsidized by ads that run across the top of each frame; readers who prefer a commercial-free experience can upgrade within the app for a fee.

Too quickly over, but an altogether engaging version of a classic bit of common literary currency. (iPad storybook app. 5-8)