'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 18 July 2012

ebook Review: Babel the Cat who would be King

'The Story of a Megalomaniac Cat' - Who could resist a tagline like that? Certainly not me.

Babel is a grumpy and not very bright old cat. When he falls from a tree after trying to annoy the clouds, he is dazed and confused. He mistakes a birdcage for a crown and begins to imagine that he could be king, aided by a whispered instructions from the cheeky little bird trapped inside the birdcage.

Babel's story is in the style of a fable highlighting the dangers of pride and listening to advice from the wrong people. All of Babel's efforts get him nowhere and by the end of the story he is back where he began, arguing with the clouds.

The story is available in both French and English and it is possible to combine French text with English voiceover or vice versa. There is a pleasant but repetative musical backing that is muted while recorded male voice reads the story. I was unable to find a way to turn of the music soundtrack. This could be done by simply turning off the device sound, but this would also remove the ability to hear the sounds associated with the interactive activities for each page.

Most pages have two or three simply embedded activities where items are touched or dragged to create movement or sounds. Prompts to show where the touch points are for these activities can be turned on or off. The reading voiceover can also be turned on or off at any point during the story through the settings tab.

The vocabulary for the story is moderately advanced. Young readers might require some explanation from an adult for the story to make sense and would certainly struggle reading the story for themselves. Suggested for children aged 2 - 8 years, the younger readers in this bracket will no doubt simply enjoy the images of familiar farm animals rather than taking in the finer details of the tale.

The story of Babel the Cat who Would be King is entertaining and will no doubt have young readers shaking their heads over silly Babel and his plans to become King. The illustrations are charming (I'm particularly fond of the sheep) and the menus and other functions are quite easy to navigate and adapt, both from the home menu and from within the story.

Babel the Cat who Would be King is produced by EPIC Agency and is available on iTunes.