The King’s Ears
The King’s Ears is an inventive, beautifully illustrated, animation-rich, and highly interactive story app adapted from an award-winning children’s picturebook. It is narrated by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame and illustrated by Philippe Béhà, a lauded children’s book illustrator of over 170 books. The story, based on the ancient Greek myth of King Midas, has been retold for a modern audience by poet and early childhood specialist Katarina Jovanovic. Shining with wisdom and wit, The King’s Ears is about accepting yourself just the way you are. Cynthia Nugent’s play design extended picturebook scholarship on the interrelationship of the modes of words and pictures to encompass the sounds, interactions and animations afforded by the iPad. The app’s meaningful and fun interactions, rich sounds, and child-controlled animations stimulate thoughtful discussion. Classroom testing revealed that strong readers as well as children with reading challenges were equally engaged. Children in groups of 2-3 explored, strategized, talked, and laughed together, collaboratively gaining understanding of the story. The King’s Ears also addresses children’s different intelligences such as aesthetic, musical, and social. Many of the interactions model feelings and social behaviours, which can be useful for children with autism spectrum disorders.