Thumbelina, told by Kelly McGillis, is a wonderful adaptation of this classic Hans Christian Andersen tale, developed by Ruckus Mobile Media. This version of this classic story is also part of the library of tales created by Rabbit Ears Entertainment, known for incorporating award-winning stories, amazing celebrity narrations and phenomenal music and art. These applications are universal apps and can be watched like a video or read like a book, and one can make one’s own recording as well.

Thumbelina is a tale about a girl born to a childless couple with the aid of magic who grows only to be the size of one’s thumb and the adventures she experiences as she is unwillingly taken from her home to be married off to various creatures who find that her size and beauty make her good marriage material.

This classic tale, written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1835, is a true favorite story of mine as I love the imagery of a young woman so small that she can sleep in a walnut shell as well as the interesting anthropomorphic animals she meets along the way that are so very human, although oftentimes in ways most unflattering.

Being a lengthy children’s tale, many characters are introduced within this story, and I have noticed that other apps as well as children’s books and other media based on the original tend to touch upon the plot points found within but can remain rather disjointed as a complete narrative. I am happy to say that the thorough re-telling of this classic will satisfy children of all ages as well as adult Andersen fans, although I do wish that a new name were given to Thumbelina when she becomes queen of the fairy people as is traditionally found within this story, as the name Thumbelina is in fact a slightly pejorative reference to her height in comparison to a human thumb, an issue no longer relevant once married to the fairy king, and the re-naming of Thumbelina to Maia symbolizes a new beginning.

The look of the included video is simply captivating, hand-drawn and lovingly painted in water color. Some close-ups show the texture of the paper as well, adding to the richness of this lushly illustrated story. Narrator Kelly McGillis does a wonderful job of narrating this story, with a soothing, almost sleepy tone, skillfully re-told as this video is both relaxing as it is captivating. The music of Mark Isham is also perfectly realized, working wonderfully alongside the other elements to fully create a world in which this story takes place.

I appreciate greatly how pretty both the world around her and Thumbelina herself are with these simple, tender illustrations, with a great contrast to the gruesome creatures also introduced such as frogs, june bugs, and a most unpleasant mole, with great voices created to further develop these antagonistic characters.

I also enjoy how the artwork used within the storybook sections of this app are also transformed into moving images for the video with the use of the “Ken Burns Effect” as these water color paintings found within this app have been panned and zoomed into, directing the reader where to look and creating a sense of drama within this story. Although the video section is watched like a movie, the effect here is unlike something commonly seen on television and will impress even those who are not keen on kids spending time with kids videos as this is in fact an alternative way of exploring artwork.

These illustrations are also found within the storybook sections as well, but they are slightly concealed in some areas of the screen by a window that is includes text within a white background all its own, semi obscuring the painting beneath. This does make the text easy to read, especially helpful when recording a personal narrated tract, but I can’t help wonder if a simple band on the bottom of the screen would have distracted less from the very special artwork.

I have used this video section to calm my son mid melt-down with great success because from the first few moments of listening to this opening score, earnest and beautiful, combined with the impressive water colors. This is a very engaging, yet relaxing experience for my son, who quickly settles down to listen to this story, forgetting what was causing him concern.

This app is an impressive length of almost half and hour and 73 pages found in the storybook, making this a lovely choice of application to share with children of all ages on long trips, keeping kids occupied with a great experience in both art and literature that parents can feel good about. Sometimes I enjoy simply listening to these Ruckus storybook apps as this alone is a lovely experience, making the video mode something everyone on a long car ride can enjoy, even if not directly looking at the images.

Please also be aware that through Black Friday and Cyber Monday, all the proceeds of the sales from Ruckus Media Groups Read-Play-and-Record Along Rabbit Ears interactive storybooks, along with their other apps, will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I feel privileged to have been able to review the majority of Ruckus Media Group apps, so I know from personal experience how terrific they all are. This, combined with the wonderful charity they are now connected with, and the fact that during this time each are on sale for $1.99 makes these apps wonderful digital stocking stuffers and Chanukah gifts, with different apps available for every age range, including adults.

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

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