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THE BLUE JACKAL by Patrick  Carlson

THE BLUE JACKAL

An Interactive Tale from Panchatantra

By Patrick Carlson (Illustrator) , Symplifyd (Developer)

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Nov. 3rd, 2011
Publisher: Symplifyd

Adapted from the Indian Panchatantra, a collection of animal fables, this app features crisp illustrations, but it is marred by a disjointed pace and an abrupt, unsatisfying ending.

In the story, a lazy, brown jackal, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Wile E. Coyote, is hunting for food when he accidentally falls into a pot of blue dye. His new hue makes him stand out in the jungle, and before long he's used his unusual color to convince the other animals he's God's messenger. The cartoon characters are soon worshipping their new leader, until the Jackal loses his cool and howls, blowing his cover. Cut immediately to a page spelling out the story's moral: "A coat of paint cannot hide one's true colors," and, "Do not lie to other people. People will discover your lies and would not trust you." (It turns out there were two morals.) Some of the writing in the story itself is just as clunky: "The Blue Jackal's wicked plan has worked and he was rich." (The voiced narration occasionally compensates for some of the grammatical blunders.) A small icon at the top right of each page tells readers how many interactions there are on each page. Pressing the icon also makes those objects shake, alerting young readers to their presence. There's also the option of having a male or female narrator.

In the end, this clumsy story offers too little entertainment to hold up to repeated readings. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)