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Tales from Nepal and India

Children who enjoy folktales will appreciate this well-narrated and exquisitely illustrated collection. If you haven’t downloaded the (free) iBook app onto your iOS device, do so now. You’ll receive one free story when you add Tales for Great Grand Children to your iBook shelf. (Please note that iTunes lists the title as Tales for Great Grandchildren, we’ve listed it as it’s found on the iBook. For more information, the “purchase” button following the review will lead you to the iTunes store.)

Title: Tales for Great Grand Children
Author: John Jackson
Illustrator: Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini
Published by: JJ Books
Developed by: Digital Leaf
Platform: requires iBook 1.3.1 or later; iOS 4.3.3 or later
Price: $5.99 for the iBook, iOS: $4.99 for 13 tales or $.99 each  

Screen shot from 'Tales for Great Grand Children' (Jackson) Terrazzini

Gr 2-7-Some of these 13 satisfying, Brothers Grimm-like stories, explains the author, are “worked up” from fragments of folklore and mythology he came across in Nepal and the north of India, whereas others are translations of the tales as he found them. Either way, stories such as “The Hole in the Roof,” in which a lazy farmer’s comeuppance is endured by his wise spouse and “The North Star,” in which the troublemaking wife of a king is banished to the forest, will enchant listeners, transporting them to faraway locales and teaching them about other cultures.

The illustrations—one per story—are gorgeous, and feature small movements that observers will enjoy pointing out, such as a scurrying mouse or a multicolored quilt rising and falling on a snoring giant’s chest. Unobtrusive intervals of music and other sound effects are perfect complements to the author/narrator’s sonorous (English-accented) reading. The material can also be read without narration.

Screen shot from 'Tales for Great Grand Children' (Jackson) Terrazzini

The tales’ presentation features a few problems that will keep readers and listeners on their toes, however. The writing sometimes lack sufficient punctuation to make reading fluent. In the story “Vijaya,” an illustration appears before the text that describes it, and might lead to confusion. However, these are minor issues that will not prevent the enjoyment of being introduced to new tricksters and discovering familiar themes presented in new ways. (Teachers will find that these tales will breathe new life into folktale and oral culture units.)

Bonus material following the stories features two videos describing the author’s Asian journey and the illustrator’s technique. This material is included in a free download along with an introduction and the story “The Hole in the Roof.” Additional tales can be purchased individually or as a collection.—Henrietta Thornton, Library Journal