February 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pierre et le loup | Touch and Go

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For those lucky children who have the opportunity to attend musical performances, Sergueï Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf is often their first introduction to the orchestra. Pierre et le loup, a delightful production of that musical story, can be enjoyed by those miles away from a concert hall, who speak any language. Read Leanne Bowler’s review below, and be sure to take a peek at the trailer. We think you’ll agree with the jurors of the BolgnaRagazzi Digital Award that this is a truly special production.

Pierre et le loup (Camera Lucida/Radio France/France Télévisions)

Pierre et le loup (Camera Lucida/Radio France/France Télévisions)

One of the most prestigious prizes for children’s digital media is the BolgnaRagazzi Digital Award, presented each year at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. The prize is awarded to apps that embody the state of the art in design and craftsmanship in narrative-driven children’s interactive media. An app based on Sergueï Prokofiev’s musical symphony for children Pierre et le loup (Peter and the Wolf; iOS, Gr 1 Up), produced by Camera Lucida and Radio France, with the participation of France Télévisions, won the nonfiction prize in 2014, and there is no doubt it is well deserved. Jurors noted that Pierre et le loup is a “complete app combining visual storytelling, information and play with music, translated into an extraordinary well-thought visual mix of motion media, animation, typography, and graphic design, full of perceptive details and surprising extras.”

Screen from Pierre et le loup (Camera Lucida/Radio France/France Télévisions)

Screen from Pierre et le loup (Camera Lucida/Radio France/France Télévisions)

This beautiful and whimsical version of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf includes a 30-minute, mixed-media film and playful, music-oriented activities. The movie presents the story of Peter and the Wolf through a visually striking combination of animation intermixed with live-action scenes of Peter interacting with members of the L’Orchestre national de France and musical director Daniel Gatti. Throughout, scenes incorporate the use of colorful backgrounds and silhouettes, and graphics of various fonts and musical notations. While the limited narration is in French, all can enjoy the movie.

The 10 interactive activities can be accessed in one of two ways: through the menu bar at the bottom of the screen or by swiping an arrow on the top right corner of the screen. The activities explore each of the characters (Peter, the Wolf, Bird, Cat, Duck, Grandfather, and Hunters) and their musical themes. Some screens incorporate Mativision technology; in one of the activities viewers must scan a nighttime scene by moving the iPad to try to snap of photo of le loup as it creeps through in the woods. In another scene, as viewers hold the iPad, they turn and get a 360-degree virtual “bird’s-eye” view of the orchestra playing the musical theme for Peter. It should be noted that, although each activity is supported by brief spoken and written instructions in French, the activities are intuitive and viewers should have no difficulty determining how to play. A wonderful exploration of a classic symphony for children.—Leanne Bowler, School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh

Screen from Pierre et le loup (Camera Lucida/Radio France/France Télévisions)

Screen from Pierre et le loup (Camera Lucida/Radio France/France Télévisions)

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Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek dgrabarek@mediasourceinc.com is the editor of School Library Journal's monthly enewsletter, Curriculum Connections, and its online column Touch and Go. Before coming to SLJ, she held librarian positions in private, school, public, and college libraries. Her dream is to manage a collection on a remote island in the South Pacific.

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