Re-reading Old Favorites:
A Holiday Guest Post by Oksana Lushchevska

h1 December 22nd, 2015 by jules



 

This is a guest post from Oksana Lushchevska, a PhD student in Reading, Writing, Children’s Literature, and Digital Literacy in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at The University of Georgia. Oksana visits 7-Imp occasionally to contribute guest posts on contemporary Ukrainian children’s literature. She’s back again today to talk about, of all things, an app.

I’ve never written about a picture book app here at 7-Imp; this is probably the first appearance of the word “app” here in 7-Imp Land. The closest I’ve ever come to a picture book app myself is occasionally looking at the Horn Book’s reviews. But I like to hear what Oksana has to say, and I enjoy when she writes about Ukrainian artists and illustrators, so here she is (below).

Happy holidays to all! …

* * *

When it comes to the winter holiday festivities and family time, young and adult readers often turn to the engaging experience of re-reading old favorites. A cultural phenomenon of picturebook apps is a relatively recent venture that tells classic stories anew. While we, the readers, still look for great text and excellent art, we recognize that picturebook apps bring us even more: a sense of participation (Wooten & McCuiston, 2015).

In this review, I would like to showcase The Snow Queen, an interactive book for iPad, which is a highly artistic adaptation of one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most acclaimed fairy tales, “The Snow Queen.” Similar to the classic title, the interactive book narrates the story of two children, Kai and Gerda, and their struggle in the battle against evil as represented in the character of Snow Queen. The interactive book consists of seven chapters with 27 pages, 300 interactive objects, 7 interactive games, a coloring book, puzzles, and moving images. Furthermore, this interactive book inspires not only delving into the reading process but experiencing and listening as well: the user of electronic devices might venture into the story by choosing a performance of a professional narrator and several languages. The rich sound effects definitely set a special wintry mood to this magical story. In addition, the interactive book offers some seasonal organ music. So, wouldn’t you feel submerged into the story? Wouldn’t you feel that the story unfolds its astonishing world again and again just for you?

A stunningly beautiful version of “The Snow Queen,” illustrated by a Ukrainian artist Vladyslav Yerko (1962), was first published as a picturebook in 2000 by The A-BA-BA-HA-LA-MA-HA Publishing House, Kyiv, Ukraine. Due to its masterful detailed illustrations, Yerko’s The Snow Queen immediately captured the attention of many publishers and children’s book enthusiasts and soon became popular worldwide. It was translated into 19 languages and was published in 15 countries (Norway, South Korea, Brazil, Greece, Great Britain, Poland, Check Republic, Slovakia, Latvia and others). Most importantly, Yerko’s The Snow Queen received great international recognition. The U. S. Anderson House Foundation even named it “Best Children’s Book of 2006.”

I am certain that there will be a plethora of “Snow Queen” app adaptations in the future, yet the Ukrainian version of this beloved classic will definitely speak to contemporary readers for a long time. By visually paying its tribute to Kai and Gerda’s desperate faith and sincere love, this version will fill the hearts of young and adult readers with special wonder.

Picturebook apps, such as this artistically-created The Snow Queen, continue taking us on the journey of joyful and memorable reading. They allow us to maximize our pleasure and enjoy reading everywhere. Thanks to technological advances, these interactive books provide us with affordable access to a variety of national artistic approaches and visual interpretations of classic international narratives. This, to me, is a moment of a marvel for which I feel thankful.

References

  • Wooten, D. A., & McCuiston, K. F. (2015). Children’s literature book apps: Exploring new paths for books and literacy development. Journal of Children’s Literature, 41(2), 26-29.
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