Free Aesop for Children app brings classic fables to smartphones, tablets

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, this collection features more than 140 tales suitable for all ages.

Aesop for Children (iOS) offers more than 140 classic fables. It's free.
Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Your tax dollars at work.

How better to describe Aesop for Children, a new iOS app (update: it's also available for Android, though not through Google Play) offered free by the Library of Congress?

I'm sure there's a debate to be had on whether the government should be in the app-development business, especially when there are competing commercial apps like Aesop's Wheel of Fables.

Personally, I don't mind seeing my taxes used for education, literacy, reading, and all that good stuff. But, like I said, it's open for debate.

In the meantime, let's look at the merits of the app itself. Aesop for Children includes more than 140 classic tales, each enhanced with one or more attractive illustrations and/or animations.

As e-book apps go, this one is fairly simplistic. It has no page-turning animation, no sound effects, no narration. And navigation is a bit clumsy; although it has Next and Back buttons for turning pages, the only way to return to the table of contents is by tapping the grayed-out "Aesop for Children" header up top -- not exactly obvious.

That said, this is a terrific collection of stories, each one capped with a takeaway lesson like, "The race is not always to the swift," and "Do not believe everything you hear."

And you can't beat the price.

It's been a while since I last wrote about children's e-books, but the category continues to explode with great stuff. Some recent releases include "Draw Along Pip," "Splat the Cat," "The Smurfs Classic Series," and "Goodnight Safari."

By the way, thanks to reader Ethan for bringing the Aesop app to my attention.