A personable little blue jackal appears on the title page of this book, speaking directly to the reader. "Find out how I, a jackal, became king of the jungle, and how the lion, the old king, feels. Tap me to begin the story," he says. Told in animated scenes with a fair amount of dialogue not present in the text, this title feels very modern in its storytelling approach despite the ancient fable it is based on.
The jackal, the story explains, accidentally falls into a pot of blue dye and as a result, he is temporarily made king of the jungle by the other animals who do not realize his 'blueness' hides nothing but an ordinary jackal. The displaced king has his own story, told after the tale has been told first by the jackal. In the second half of the book, the lion is shown crying as he wonders why his subjects have left him for a new king.
This title is solidly made and has a nice array of settings that allow the book to be read with or without narration. Background sounds are nice overall and a setting has been added to silence the wind chimes that otherwise play throughout, a lovely recent addition from a responsive developer. Story elements include lots of fun interactivity, although it isn't directly tied to the storyline. Engaging, cartoon-like illustrations come to life with nice animation that is well-paced to match the story.
Some of the best parts of this title are the questions posed throughout. As the child listens to the story, they are asked to consider the perspective of the lion, jackal and other animals of the jungle. At several points the animals directly ask questions, creating a unique connection with the reader. Overall, this is a nice digital version of a Panchatantra tale.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
10 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 6 - 9
From Wikipedia - The Story of the Blue Jackal: "One evening when it was dark, a hungry jackal went in search of food in a large village close to his home in the jungle. The local dogs didn't like Jackals and chased him away so that they could make their owners proud by killing a beastly jackal. The jackal ran as fast as he could, and not looking where he was going fell into a bucket of indigo dyeoutside the home of the cloth dyer. The dogs ran further and the jackal climbed out of the bucket, wet but unharmed.
The jackal continued into the jungle and saw the lion, King of the Jungle. The Lion asked him who he was and the jackal seeing that he had now turned blue declared himself as Chandru - protector of all the animals in the jungle. Chandru told the lion that he would only continue to protect the jungle if all the animals would give him food and shelter.
Soon Chandru was sought for advice from animals from other jungles and animals sat at his feet and brought him the best of food. But as happens every year in India, the Monsoon came, and slowly but surely, the blue dye had run off Chandru's coat and he was just a mangy jackal again. The animals realized this and chased the jackal far into the jungle, where he was never seen again."
In this version, the jackal is found out not from rain changing him back to brown, but because he howls when other jackals are nearby, showing himself to be just an ordinary animal. The animals do not seek to make the lion king again, either, choosing instead to find someone new to trust for leadership.