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THE UGLY DUCKLING by Hans Christian Andersen


From the Fairy Tales for Clever Kids series

by Hans Christian Andersen & developed by Stanislav Ustymenko

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 2012
Publisher: Stanislav Ustymenko

A stripped-down version of the classic tale that is all about its gimmick: An action is required on each screen in order to advance to the next.

Available in four European languages—English, Russian, German and French but not, curiously, Danish—the story is paired to pedestrian cartoons of animals floating slightly over generic country or farmyard scenes. The English translation is notably awkward (“The wind howled in his wings which were much more strongly than before”). A question or direction at the bottom of each screen requires readers to move or tap a visual element in order to advance. These are usually either arbitrary, like “Take the smallest egg to the basket” (the largest would have been more logical, considering the context), or no-brainers, such as “With what did the girl kick the duckling?” There are no other interactive features; no animations, audio narration, music—not even a page index. The story ends where it should but abruptly, with a “next” arrow leading to a link for purchasing other, presumably similarly repurposed tales in the series.

Proof positive that not every ugly hatchling is a swan.

(iPad storybook app. 5-7)