A melancholic king discovers the secret to happiness and contentment.
This third installment in a trilogy of “wisdom tales” (after The Unwanted Guest, 2011, and The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross, 2010) is based on the adage it’s named for. A “kind and noble king” observes the constant collision of grief and joy in everyday life. He calls on wise men to unlock the secret to lasting happiness, but all they can do is pontificate and argue. He decides to disguise himself as a commoner and eventually meets a man who offers him the perspective he’s been longing for—namely that everything (whether good or bad) is temporary. The ideas in the story are derived from the Buddhist doctrine of impermanence, which affirms that change is the one universal constant. Much like its predecessors, this app is characterized by grayscale images enhanced with various splashes of color. The film-quality animation is three-dimensional and offers various perspectives each time the app is launched. Text artfully tumbles onto the screen letter by letter; once the text block is in place, it can be scattered from side to side with a tilt of the tablet. The story offers a plethora of sound effects, a record-it-myself option or full narration with accompanying text in Spanish, French or English.
A creative, thought-provoking examination of the deeper questions in life, as told from a Buddhist perspective. (iPad storybook app. 8-12)