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

Wednesday 9 January 2013

ebook Review: King Laurin and His Rose Garden

The Dolomites are a mountain range in northern Italy. One of the famous chains of the range is the Rosengarten or 'rose garden' which glows pink at sunset due to the presence of the mineral dolomite. The name refers to the legend of King Laurin and his Rose Garden a traditional story used to explain the pink hue of the mountain range. You might be familiar with this legend but I wasn’t until I came across this storybook app.

King Laurin and His Rose Garden does a great job bringing this legend to live. It is full of mythical creatures, dwarfs, knights and of course there is Laurin, the King of the dwarfs. The King lives in s crystal palace surrounded by a magical rose garden. At the center of the story is a tournament the winner of which gets to marry the beautiful Princess Simhild.

When the King is not invited to the tournament, he becomes angered and decides to attend, hidden under a magical cloak that renders him invisible to his knightly opponents. At the tournament, the King becomes so besotted by the beauty of the Princess that whisks her away. The other knights chase him back to his castle where they become mesmerised by the exquisiteness of the King’s rose garden.

When one of the knights crushes the beloved flowers, the dwarf King is filled with rage and attacks the offenders. The King’s secret weapon is his magic belt, which gives him the strength of twelve men, however, the belt proves too weak for his fearless opponents and the scared King resorts to making himself invisible again under his magic cloak. Unfortunately, Laurin does not stay safe for long in the sea of roses, as the swaying flowers give him away to the other knights, who quickly arrest him for the abduction of the princess.

The King becomes so enraged by the garden that gave him away that he casts a spell of the roses making sure that no one will ever admire their beauty by day or night. He does however, forget about the twilight and so to this day in the legendary spot of the King’s rose garden the Dolomite mountains shine bright red by dusk and dawn.

This ebook application has 17 interactive pages filled with colourful characters. Each page contains a number of interactive elements, which engage even the youngest of audiences with activities from collecting diamonds in a mine to fighting out the King’s battle.

The narration is clear and engaging and can be listened to in English, Italian or German. The older audiences can turn off the narration and read the story themselves.

The illustrations are bright and come to live with great sound effects

Having never heard of the legend, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and loved watching my son interact with the application. I highly recommend giving this storybook app ago, it is a wonderful way to entertain young readers and introduce the concept of legend and myth to older children.

King Laurin and His Rose Garden is published by Larixpress and is available on iTunes for 99c. Recommended for kids aged 4 and up.