This is a tale from the Panchatantra, which is an ancient Indian collection of animal fables. According to Wikipedia, "the original Sanskrit work, which some scholars believe was composed in the 3rd century BCE, is attributed to Vishnu Sharma. It is based on older oral traditions and is the most frequently translated literary product of India. These stories are among the most widely known in the world."
In this tale, a jackal who is 'lazy and wicked', falls into a vat of blue ink and uses his unusual appearance to become king of the jungle. He intimidates the other animals, claiming he is 'God's messenger'. But one day he shows that he is just an ordinary animal, causing the other animals to turn on him in anger. This story, like most traditional fables, is structured around a moral message. This one demonstrates that, "a coat of paint cannot hide one's true colors."
As a digital book, this app is solidly made with both arrow and swipe-style page turning, ample settings and lots of interactive elements. The interactivity does interrupt the narration if triggered too soon, but this well-made app actually pauses and restarts the read aloud mode very nicely when tapping fingers get in the way. The illustrations are very cartoon like, with animals that are a bit 'goofy' looking - perfect for engaging young readers.
Overall this is a great retelling of an ancient tale in a modern format. Young readers will relate to the plot as much as the generations before them did, drawn in by the interactive elements even when they are not especially story related. Excellent narration is available in both a female & male voice, rounding out this delightful storybook app. There are even nice hints to guide tapping on each page, making this a feature filled app with a timeless story to tell.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Panchatantra (story)/Patrick Carlson (illustrations)
Jain Pranay Kumar
8 - 10 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 8
"Once upon a time, the the deep jungle of Sunderban, there lived a wicked and lazy Jackal," begins this story from the Panchatantra. One day the jackal decides to go into town to steal food because he is 'lazy and wicked'. When a pack of dogs start to chase him through the street, he falls into a pot of blue paint accidentally while trying to hide. When the jackal returns to the jungle, he notices that other animals are afraid of him because they've never seen a blue animal.
The jackal hatches an evil plan to take over the kingdom by convincing the frightened animals that he is God's messenger. The jackal then becomes king of all the other animals and makes them pay tribute to him. They even asked him for help and to solve all their disagreements.
Then one day the jackal hears a pack of his own species in the distance, and forgetting his scheme, he howls. The howl gives the jackal away as just an ordinary animal. The angry animals, upset at being fooled run the jackal out of the jungle. The moral is, "A coat of paint cannot hide one's true colors. People will discover your lies and would not trust you."