This Kipling Just So tale features great narration, but the viewer-controlled animation doesn’t hold interest for long.
Kangaroo wasn’t always able to stand on his hind legs, hop and use his strong tale to balance himself. In this origin tale, Proud Kangaroo approaches three gods and demands that they make him special, popular and sought after. They refuse until Big God Nqong sends Dingo racing after Kangaroo, and Kangaroo is forced to change into a superior animal if he wants to survive. Bob Knowles’ narration is top-notch, enhancing the rich language, metaphors and description of the Kipling story. Viewers are able to control the Dingo as he chases Kangaroo across the plains of Australia by tilting the iPad side-to-side. This is fun for the first few minutes, but it grows old, distracting from the storytelling. There are some missed opportunities here for enhancements that would have been welcome, such as a map and further exploration of the many places mentioned in the story, as well as graphics and information about the interesting Australian ecology Kipling alludes to, like "spinifex," "ti-trees," "salt-pan" and more. Navigation is limited to play, pause and stop, and there is no way to turn off narration other than by muting the iPad.
A well-narrated, interesting tale, but the one-note graphics and limited navigation keep it from the top. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)