A delightfully entertaining telling of the tale of brave Ulysses.
This slimmed, prose version of Homer’s epic can be read aloud by a lilting narrator, or it can be read silently. All of the characters Ulysses meets on his long journey home are here—the Lotus Eaters, Polyphemus the Cyclops, Aeolus and the spiteful winds, Circe, the Sirens, Calypso, a truly scary Scylla—with a suitable amount of smoothly written text material to flesh out their backgrounds and roles. Pop-up boxes can be activated to provide further interpretive access to the tale. The stained-glass quality of the artwork is enchanting, as are the atmospheric background music and sounds. The interactive features are many and clever. Little hints are given for activating them—jugs do a quick tip to the side, Ulysses’ helmet tinks when touched—but the true joy here is the act of discovering the interactive features, which are not gimmies by any stretch: dragging a storm cloud against the sky to bedevil Ulysses’ boat, figuring out how Penelope weaves and unweaves the shroud, activating Circe’s fireworks or an island volcano, helping Polyphemus hurl a boulder at Ulysses’ ship and watching Poseidon rise from the waves. Readers, in essence, are exploring, just like our man Ulysses. That’s engagement.
An inventive and entertaining introduction to the classic. And that kiss at the end: perfect. (iPad epic app. 10 & up)