Clever Tales is a collection of 40 folktales and is designed as a 'reading app' that presents original tales, in English or Russian, for reading aloud or for older readers to enjoy by themselves. According to the app's description, the writers of these tales are "people of different nationalities, ages and professions ... from different countries: Russia, Israel, Holland, Colombia, United States, Germany, Lithuania, Ukraine and others."
As a 'digital reading app', this book is packed with reading choices, all tales written in the 'once upon a time' style with a variety of moral lessons and topics. The tales are also not scary in any way, making it a great source of bedtime stories for children to have read aloud to them. There are a lot of original tales to choose from, written in the modern era, but trying to capture an "old-fashioned charming style of storytelling".
The app is also packed with settings, including a way to adjust the appearance of the app for a 'day' or 'night' mode that is very enchanting. It has a clean, well-made interface, although the app's settings are so plentiful that the complexity of it all can be a bit overwhelming. Thankfully there is a help document under "i" for info (and if you want to use many of the settings, you will need this reference) as well as a stripped down list of settings. Some highlights include the ability to mark your favorite tales, track what you've read recently, search by keywords for stories and even email a tale you like to someone.
The tales are not narrated, however there is a record function that allows you to narrate them yourself and store your recordings for later listening. The app is full of relaxing jazz music, perfect for bedtime reading, including a feature that can play about 20 minutes of music after you've finished reading and locked the screen. Spend a little time getting to know the settings and you can set up your copy of this app to fit your own child's reading habits.
Each of the 40 tales is also enhanced with small but delightful illustrations, giving it a 'mini' picture book quality that will appeal to young children. For older kids, this app would also be a great reading app and could even inspire them to write their own tale. The app's creators invite readers to send in their own original tales and will update the app over time to include some of their favorite submissions. Right now there is one reader tale, "A Tower of Bricks".
Overall this is an exceptionally unique app with a lot to offer. It isn't a 'picture book app' but instead a collection of interesting stories, lightly illustrated and perfect for reading aloud or by oneself. The tales are broken up into age 4+ & 7+, but all of them would be appropriate for young children. And perhaps the next update will include something new, like a tale written by a reader (and that reader could even be you!).
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
10 - 60 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 10
This ebook app contains the following folktales, in Russian and also translated into English:
Rated Age 4+: A Tower of Bricks, Speedy, The Importance of Friendship, The Two Chefs, A House That No One Lived In, Timmy in Trouble, Jacob's Fingers, How a Firefly Learned to Glow, Prickly Needles, The Boat, Has Anyone Seen Porcupine?, Adventure in the Woods, Mary and Paints, A Present for Little Bunny, Princess Peony, The Most Important Thing in Life, The Best Flower in the Garden, A Little Stream, Balloon Tale, The Little Hippo & A Never Ending Miracle
Rated Age 7+: The Magic Soup, The City of Robots, How People Forgot Their Quarrels, Adventures of a Droplet, Marina's Double, A Ray of Sunlight, The Invisible Bond, The Invisible Boy, Inside An Apple, A Tale about a King and His Kingdom, Discovering Harmony, A Tale of the Land in Darkness, Three Sons of a King, How a Rose Grew, A Story about a Man, a Magician, and a Wise Man, The Land of Opposite, The Friendship Bowl, Miracles Can Happen! & A Butterfly's Wings