This is a really enjoyable tale that is based "loosely on Australian Aboriginal folklore," according to the developer's description. It's important to me as a parent to expose my child to interesting stories from around the world, so I was immediately willing to look past some of this book's technical oddities. And it's worth it for a book that really has a lot of of attractive features and above all a wonderful moral tale.
Right from the first page, my son gravitated toward the colorful artwork in this book. He was delighted to see rain drops when he tapped on the clouds & hear an amazing variety of animal sounds from the colorful creatures. The illustrations of the earth on several pages turn in a really responsive way, making my inner child want to spin the planet a bit, too. The animation is choppy, but at least based on original art from the book of the same title [ISBN 978-81-8146-603-7].
The narration is a bit odd, with several 'options', including Kid (default), Horror, Helium, Robot & Chipmonk. With no adult narration as an option, I can't say any mode but 'Kid' would be acceptable beyond novelty. The default narration is clear and easy enough to understand. I just have a really hard time imagining anyone sitting through all 18 pages narrated by a child's voice, only distorted to sound like a chipmonk.
The 'silly' choices for narration seem out-of-sync somehow with the book's content, but since they are hidden, it's possible to read the book without even noticing them the first time. The rest of the book is charming. The artwork even complements the message about sharing the planet. I noticed that the stylized Earth, spinning under my child's eager finger, was also a bit too small for the animals drawn on its surface.
It took some digging for me to find out who to list as the author & illustrator. This is not uncommon in iPad books, I'm finding, although I think it is unacceptable. Parents, in particular, want to know who is writing and illustrating. It's an essential part of the reading experience. And besides, don't the original creators of the print book deserve some credit? The authors, it turns out, are from India and the only site to get a print version (available in 8 Indian dialects, by the way) calls the art, "bright, stylised ...[it] bring[s] together elements of Indian and Aboriginal folk art."
I only liked this tale more after doing some research on it. It uses a wonderful story about the animal world to create a "teachable moment" that parents can take advantage of when talking about the story with their child. It's hard to teach complex concepts to children, but sharing stories together is usually a good way to start.
With improvements to the animation and an option for adult narration (plus fixing some touchiness with page turning), I'd consider this 4 stars. It's worth a download at it's current .99 price, though, even without these changes. This digital version in only narrated in English, but has written translation in the settings for French, Spanish & German. An iPhone version is also available.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Meena Raghunathan/Harsha Nagaraju
5 - 10 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 5 - 10 +
English • French • Spanish •German •
In a time long, long ago ... begins this delightful folktale. Based on an Australian Aboriginal story with original Indian & Aboriginal folk art, "Who Will Rule?" is a tale about the world growing more and more populated with animals. Soon they begin to argue about who should be in charge, calling a meeting where they decide that the largest group of animals will win.
The insects & reptiles decide they are not interested and walk out, but the others come together to prove they have the most members. After the mammals, birds, fish arrive together they realize that all three groups are equal in size. Only one animal can break the tie ... the duck-billed platypus.
Each of the three groups tries to claim the platypus. It lays eggs & has a beak like the birds, feeds milk to it's babies like a mammal and spends most of it's time in the water like a fish, according to each of their arguments. The Platypus answers, "I don't belong to any of you. Besides, I think the world belongs equally to all of us."