An ancient tale from India is framed in a modern picture-book story.
Two youngsters and their grandparents take a break at the playground to hear grandfather’s story of "The Dove and the Hunters" from the Panchatantra collection of Indian fables. In the tale-within-a-tale, an evil hunter lures a dole of doves into a net. Under the wise tutelage of their king, they fly off together with the net, and some kindly mice friends free them by chewing the net apart. The framing device is apparently common in the Panchatantra tradition, but here the playground story detracts from an interesting fable that would have stood up well on its own. The grandfather holds a didactic question-and-answer session following the tale that further leaches enjoyment from the story. The illustrations feel stereotypical; while the kids could be any ethnicity, the grandmother has a bindi on her forehead, and the evil hunter appears to be an exaggerated cartoon version of a Hindu demon. The sing-song, amateurish narration is further marred by careless mismatches with the text. Aside from a few well-designed puzzles, there is very little animation and almost no interaction.
An awkward framing device, a didactic tone and scant use of animation or interactive elements sink this potentially engaging Panchatantra tale. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)