I’ll be honest here, I was a little nervous to open up an app that had “The Odyssey” in the title. That isn’t a piece of literature that holds fond memories for me but I figured it was time to face my own Greek demons. Knowing this was an Odyssey that had been adapted for younger readers steeled my resolve and I’m here to tell you that The Odyssey for iPhone was actually quite delightful.
Here Homer’s Odyssey has been condensed to 19 pages of easy to read (and understand) text. The story begins with Odysseus leaving to fight the Trojans and follows his journey home as he faces the Cyclops, meets Circe and fights the Scylla. Each page has a fully illustrated screen and the text sits as an overlay on top of the picture. When you are listening to the narration the overlay will disappear when it is over so you can see the illustration. Fifteen of the pages have subtle animations and four are fully animated. The pages that are completely animated have the characters moving and speaking dialogue. We don’t watch many mainstream cartoons at our house but these illustrations looked modern and like what you might find in an animated television series. Take a look at the screenshots, if there’s a name for this type of animation please educate me in the comments! It’s definitely a style that will appeal to elementary aged children and I thought the quality looked sharp and well done.
I’ve already mentioned that The Odyssey for iPhone has both a narrated and “Read By Myself” version. If you choose to read on your own you’ll still be able to see the animations on the screen and you can continue to use auto-turn for pages. A scene index will let you choose exactly which page you’d like to begin on and a pause button has been included in both versions of the story. If you pause then the story will pick up where you left off the next time you restart the app.
It’s nice to see such a formidable (or maybe that’s just my opinion?) classic like The Odyssey transformed into something that children can relate to and enjoy. Apps are a fantastic tool for bringing the classics into the hands of a new generation. I can’t help but think if my children can enjoy them from the start then when the time comes to read the actual tale they’ll have a much smoother reading experience than I did.
Price when Reviewed: $.99 for iPhone and $2.99 for iPad
Seller: Peegos Publishing
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this app for review purposes.