After viewing and playing with these apps, they begin to haunt you with their simple beauty. I know it is highly unusual to combine two different apps in a review, but these two books go together somehow, and I can’t imagine having one without the other. Celtana has really set the bar in translating these culturally rich fairy tales of Ireland. The developer has beautifully brought to life these lovely ancient tales, and it is like experiencing a piece of history to encounter them.
The Children of Lir is the story of King Lir, whose children have been turned into swans by a jealous stepmother. For 900 years the children endured, and saw time pass as the new age of Christianity came forth with the arrival of Saint Patrick. And as with all things, nothing is permanent, and so goes the passage of the old ways with the return of the children for a moment once the spell is lifted. The art work is stunning, in the dreamy layering of watercolors and the honest and lyrical narration. The opportunity to have the book read to you or to read them yourself are optioned, and the interactivity on each page complements rather than competes with the stories.
Oisin in Tir na nOg is the tale of Oisin, a warrior of Fianna, who could ride his horse like the wind. One fine day he met the beautiful Naimh, who took him back to her world beyond the western seas in the land of Tir na nOg, where no one feels pain or ages. Although he loved Naimh, he longed to go to see his father one last time. Naimh had given him, her blessing but warned him of the passage of time in his home land. Again the lesson of how things change, whilst having respect and appreciation of the past is presented. In this book, I like that the text is not automatically read, but requested by tapping on the text so you can drink in the atmosphere and textures of the story first. It also gives you time to interact and ask “what do you think shall happen next?” or the chance to settle in to a good night’s sleep or dream a bit.
The interplay in both the narration and art between long ago and the implied present makes these tales timeless. They are stories to be heard and shared, and help us all learn about the world at large.
By discovering the stories and cultures of others, it brings us closer together. Both The Children of Lir and Oisin in Tir na nOg would be a grand way of presenting Ireland to preschoolers or Kindergarteners. As a therapist, reading the stories to gain postural stability, through positioning or acting out the scenes to help build sequencing, memory and mobility skills, are all possible. You can’t have much more fun than the chance to be Oisin and gallop like the wind, complete with a bike helmet and cardboard sword in hand.
About the Author
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years, and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play everyday; so that “her kids” grow up to be healthy independent learners.