The King's Stilts - Dr. Seuss, as the name may imply is a Dr. Seuss app adapted by Oceanhouse Media, is an interesting story that may be less well known than other works by Dr. Seuss.
I really enjoy this title, written in prose rather than the rhyming style of writing that Dr. Seuss is known for.
This is the story of a king who balances his responsibilities with play, a lover of stilt-walking who enjoys this pastime a great deal. One of his most important duties is to protect his kingdom from flooding as they are protected from water on three sides by thick Dike Trees that are used to keep the water from rising into the community. Yet these trees are threatened by Nizzard birds who devour these levies made out of trees. To prevent this, guard cats are used to discourage the birds, and this system works well when the king is feeling in balance between work and play, taking time to stilt-walk as his reward for all his hard work.
Enter the foil of this story, a terrible man who convinces a child to steal and hide the king's stilts, with a disastrous effect. The king becomes so depressed without his stilts that he is not an effective leader, and the guard cats become lazy and are no protection against the Nizzard Birds which in turn leads to flooding until the child takes a stand and returns the king's stilts back to their rightful owner.
I really appreciate the expository sections of this story, going into great details of the king's day-to-day tasks keeping the guard cats healthy and happy, and in turn protecting the kingdom from the Nizzards and their destruction. Great detail is also given about the geography of this low-lying kingdom surrounded by water from three sides as well as a fully developed character of the king, a relatable character for adults as well as children, who works hard and really enjoys his favorite pastime.
The look of this storybook is also quite interesting, with the heavy use of black, white and shades of grey and red as a single colorful shade that pops for a nice effect.
The look as well as the fable-like storytelling of the King's Stilts is reminiscent of Dr. Seuss’s The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, a book published a year earlier that includes this same palette that may seem stark in comparison to other, possibly better known Seuss titles.
I honestly prefer the short stories by Dr. Seuss that are narrative in nature without being focused on rhyming language that can seem overly stylized for my taste. Because of this, I am grateful that The King's Stilts was developed into an application to be re-discovered by those who may not have known about this story until now.
I am also happy to hear this lengthy story read by my favorite narrator, John Bell, who does an excellent job reading this detailed and complex story - a great choice for older children who will marvel at the chain of events that puts the kingdom in jeopardy.
Like other Oceanhouse Media apps, one can read this app to oneself, listen to stellar narration, or use Auto Play to turn the page automatically as if watching a video. The words are highlighted when spoken - always a nice touch, as is the ability to tap a word or even a paragraph to hear it read out loud as well as to tap on an image to see and hear it labeled appropriately.
New to these titles is the ability to silence the narration or ambient sound effects individually.
One can also now turn off the interactive "Picture / Word associations" if one wishes to do so as well as make one’s own recording and even share the voiceover with others who have access to this same application.
The zooming and panning of the book's illustrations is always pleasing, allowing readers to view these drawings close-up as well as drawing the reader's eye to areas of the page for a nice effect.
I look forward to more of these Dr. Seuss titles to be adapted, especially stories that I am not as familiar with.