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ODYSSEUS FOR KIDS by Patricia Crété


by Patricia Crété & illustrated by Bruno Wennagel & Mathieu Ferret & developed by Vincent Montuclard & Quelle Histoire

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: April 9th, 2014
Publisher: Quelle Histoire

A young gamer’s version of the life and adventures of Odysseus, with digital character cards to collect by taking on “challenges” at each stop along the way.

The compressed narrative itself, which appears on undecorated pull-down panels, looks and reads like an afterthought: “The fighting lasts for ten years. The Greeks win the war. Everyone can go home. Odysseus sets sail with his companions. ‘Phew, we’re out of here.’ ” Each of the 15 single-screen “chapters” is a cartoon scene—mostly of Odysseus and (while they last) his men confronting a monster or other hazard—with small animated movements. Around the edges are icons that toggle the lively narration and dramatic background music on or off, lead to a map of the Mediterranean with modern photos of each (putative) location, return readers to the home screen to choose among 11 available languages and open up a series of easy-to-work games. These last include concentration-style and spot-the-difference games, jigsaw puzzles, multiple-choice quizzes (“Where did Odysseus meet Penelope?”) and, for the sirens, an exercise in reproducing sequences of tones. Successful players earn “cards” that, when rubbed, reveal figures from the tale that can be tapped to make hidden descriptive captions appear.

It’s so cursory of plotline that even the fates of Penelope’s suitors go unmentioned, but it may be a good way to introduce or review the cast and the epic tale’s broad outlines. (Requires iOS 6.0 and above.) (iPad storybook/game app. 6-9)