Snow Queen by the developers at Timecode is a very nice adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story of the same name – a lengthy tale traditionally told over seven stories.

I am impressed by how this app also is broken into seven stories to create a thorough version of this classic story – nice to see as many times the Snow Queen is abridged, and oftentimes without the back story of how the magic mirror, which makes all things beautiful look ugly, is produced here by a goblin. It is this mirror, when broken, also negatively affects the people who get imbedded by these shards, making them see and feel as though everything around them is ugly as well.

This is a favorite story of mine as a child, as the idea of being manipulated this way by parts of a broken mirror affected me a great deal, and I am glad to have access to a version that is not shortened or watered down for children, as this version can also be enjoyed by adults, including Andersen fans who have certain expectations from adaptations of his work.

Effective narration is included which I have enjoyed listening to. Although the text is read a little quickly, I don’t believe that this narration is hard to understand or to follow as the sentences are highlighted – a nice touch that differs from the word-for-word highlighting that some books include.

Illustrations are also included – hand-painted and lush with details. It is worth noting that although a smaller illustration is included on the top of each page of text, a beautiful, full page illustration is found after ever page or two, making this not primarily a picture book but a very nice version of this story for an older child who can sit and listen for a good length of time.

Interactions are activites also included adding some fun yet minimal sounds and animations to the illustrations. I appreciate how a hint button is included showing where to tap to find hotspots or how to interact in different ways that children will enjoy, but are not the main selling point of this application.

Parents of older grade school children will be happy to introduce the Show Queen via this application, be it listening to the narration, reading this book out loud themselves, or by children reading this tale to themselves.

I do wish, however, that a table of contents were available in case a family does not have time to complete all seven stories, and it is unfortunate that if this app is closed, the space where readers left off is not saved. Because of this, it is good to know that this app, if left running on the iPad, will open to the page currently being read.

Although I recommend this app now as very nice storytelling, complete with beautiful artwork and lovely background music, being able to bookmark a page as well as a table of contents would be worthwhile inclusions for a future update.

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