The Lion and the Mouse – An Interactive Children’s Story Book HD is a charming interactive universal storybook with a bold look and great sense of style. Very nice narration is included, as is the option to read this story to oneself and auto play is also included.

The Lion and the Mouse is a classic story based on an Aesop’s fable about a little mouse who, grateful to be spared by a ferocious lion, promises to do the lion a favor in the future, although the lion being big and strong, does not ever foresee needing help from a tiny mouse.

I like how this tale has been updated, keeping the spirit and message alive yet avoiding any overt violent undertones, as the original story has the lion threaten the mouse, who is simply grateful to have not been killed. Yet within this story, the lion helps the mouse reach trees to pick fruit and for this, he is very appreciative. The ending has been changed as well, from the lion being captured in a net by hunters, to this lion jumping through the jungle and getting caught in vines that the mouse is able to gnaw through, freeing this beast.

Parents may find the look of this app familiar as it is based, where we live, as part of the television series “Nina’s Little Fables,” part of PBS Sprouts “The Goodnight Show.”

Although the images used are the same, with a wonderful use of shadow puppet animation, creating silhouettes that represent these characters and using a stark black, white and gray color scheme, as well as incorporating a few other, sometimes muted colors for great effect, the narration and music are different, now spoken in rhyme and including a very well-done voiceover and a thoughtful use of pitch-perfect World Music. This brings a good sense of drama and importance to this story not found in the corresponding version narrated by Nina, the host of the “Good Night Show,” that although pleasant, is also a little saccharine for my taste.

I do appreciate the version of this tale found within this universal app, both in terms of story as well as visual style. The high contrast look of this application, using a stark palette, is a refreshing change from other favorite apps that have a brighter, more colorful look to them.

Interactions are included that are simple and lovely, such as being able to tap elements within, hearing the sound of a percussion instrument with each interactive tap, creating a wonderful effect.

A few included details such as the sun or rocks incorporate a nice use of color that also with a tap changes these colors, shade-by-shade of warn neutrals which make their way up the scale to the use of red or yellow found peppered throughout.

Some elements also become animated, as are the mouse and lion characters, as well as the fruit hanging from the trees or the rocks found as background details, this being the case of “less is more” as these subtle effects create a wonderful visual style more engaging for young children than other, highly interactive applications, as here tapping to hear the lion roar the first time has more of an impact than another app that may be cluttered with many other distractions.

When reading this app, one will notice the text found in the top left of the page that can also be closed if one would like simply to listen to this story without reading along.

I do find it counter-intuitive, however, that the paragraph as a whole is in red type, yet the line in the process of being read is highlighted gray, making this line of text fade into the background instead of popping to gain the reader’s attention. I would love to see these colors reversed, with the paragraph in general appearing in gray and line of narration being spoken appearing in red, really standing out and aiding young readers.

It is really enjoyable to see how all these elements of the shadow animation, narration and wonderful use of music as well as included interactions, creating an experience that adults as well as children will enjoy together.

I look forward to seeing more of these “Little Fables” turned into applications; the quality here is quite high.

Posted in: Art, By Age Range, By App Feature, Just For Fun, Language, Parents and Kids, Preschool, Primary School, Reading, Reviews, Social, Stories, Toddlers

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