A Cautionary Tail – the app

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Are you ready for a most unusual tale? Or perhaps we should say ‘tail’!

Last year we told you about a Kickstarter project named A Cautionary Tail. It’s an animated short film about a girl born with a tail that expresses her emotions. As a child, her parents celebrate their daughter’s unusual appendage and her tail inspires magical make-believe adventures with her friends. However, as she grows up, the young woman faces pressure to fit in and must choose between conformity and self-expression. Actors Cate Blanchett, David Wenham and Barry Otto were the voices behind the characters in A Cautionary Tail.

Since making the film, the creators of A Cautionary Tail have made an interactive kids book, narrated by Davin Wenham. The story, told in rhyme (and sounding particularly delightful thanks to Wenham’s dulcet tones) is played against stills and short animations taken directly from the film. The images have a three-dimensional quality to them, and the wide-eyed, large-headed characters are real attention grabbers. The animated ‘extras’ are largely concealed and not in any way distracting from the story – a butterfly that flies, a bubblegum bubble that pops, a blank brick wall waiting to be graffitied – all simple additions that utilise animated sections of the film.

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The highlight is the rhyme – perfectly paced, never forced and funny as well (parents should note the word ‘bum’ is bandied about a fair bit in A Cautionary Tail) –

“Her tail spoke well before she could
As every good appendage should – 
It eloquently wagged her joy,
Or flicked her anger, curled her coy…”

The book offers several ways to experience the story, whether it be fully narrated in the Read to Me mode, or read along with the use of word highlighting in Read by Myself mode.

Like the film, the book explores themes of loss, bullying and being different, presenting an important message about self-acceptance in a positive way.

A Cautionary Tail app is available via iTunes for $5.49.

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Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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