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Review: ‘Liesel Gets a Sister’ and ‘Liesel’s Birthday’ for the iPad

The Piccolo Picture Books bookshelf includes several companion titles. Liesel is the star of the two apps reviewed today and Liesel Learns to Swim, which will join the others on the bookshelf soon. Find out more about Piccolo Picture Books and the bookshelf trend in our blog entry posted two days ago.

TG Review thinbanner4 Review: Liesel Gets a Sister and Liesels Birthday for the iPad
Lieselsister Review: Liesel Gets a Sister and Liesels Birthday for the iPadTitle: Liesel Gets a Sister
Author: Marianne Busser and Ron Schröder
Illustrator: Dagmar Stam
Published by: Uitgeverij Unieboek | Het Spectrum B.V.G
Developed by: Unieboek I Het Spectrum B. V. and Mobile Generation
Platform: iOS, requires 4.2 or later
Version: 1.2
Price: $4.99; purchase through the Piccolo Picture Books app

lieselbday2 Review: Liesel Gets a Sister and Liesels Birthday for the iPadTitle: Liesel’s Birthday
Author: Marianne Busser and Ron Schröder
Illustrator: Dagmar Stam
Published by: Uitgeverij Unieboek | Het Spectrum B.V.
Developed by: Unieboek I Het Spectrum B. V. and Mobile Generation
Platform: iOS, requires 4.2 or later
Version: 1.2
Price: $4.99; purchase through the Piccolo Picture Books app

PreS-K-Liesel is a ruddy-cheeked princess of the traditional fairy-tale sort, who lives in a castle. Nevertheless, the royal family dynamic resides firmly in the present. Her father, the King, while a hands-on parent, can turn grumpy and childlike. The Queen is queen of conflict resolution, and Leisel simply wants to play, dress up, and be loved.

In Liesel Gets a Sister (1993), mixed emotions reign. The youngster is upset when her pregnant mother cannot help her, and once the baby is born, the King sulks that the infant can’t play with him, or “do much of anything.” On the day of Liesel’s Birthday (1997), the King is out of sorts (again) this time because he didn’t get presents. After a strong reprimand from the Queen, the King amuses the children at the party, serves tea and cakes, generally making himself useful (and delightful). Sweet closing sentiments, playful watercolor illustrations, and simple animations of the characters, their small fluffy dog, and all manner of presents, makes these stories a natural choice for fans of Jane O’Connor’s “Fancy Nancy” titles.

Hailing from the Netherlands, the Piccolo app provides a lovely bookshelf context for these titles. A child can select titles from the shelf and read them in multiple languages (Castellano Spanish, French, German, Dutch, and British English) without narration, read aloud, or read aloud with the words highlighted as they are spoken. The narrators speak expressively with authentic accents, and the translations are natural, not forced. While reading aloud, a simple touch to the text box will pause the narration, a handy feature.

The background and touch-activated audio effects, and the touch-activated animations are nothing fancy, but neither are they overbearing. What set these lighthearted stories apart are the translations into five European languages, a true gift for the growing number of multilingual children growing up today.— Sara Lisa Paulson, PS 347 – “47″ The ASL & English Lower School, New York, NY

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