ASL Tales: Rapunzel

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The Review

The ASL Tales series includes a picture book and a DVD with each title. This particular book is beautifully illustrated by author and illustrator Judy Hood. Young kids will enjoy curling up with this book and exploring its colorful and imaginative art.  Nonetheless, there are some quality and technical issues that could use improvement.

The signer on the DVD, Pinky Aiello, is a natural and captivating storyteller. She has wonderful facial expressions and signs very clearly. There are colored borders around the screen and pictures from the book are shown, albeit a bit too fast, before Aiello begins signing.

The DVD also contains special features such as Page by Page, where you can click on a page number and watch the ASL version of the same page. There is a glossary, an ASL-only version, an audio-only version, and several different spoken language options. ASL Clues, one of the special features, includes video clips from the story showing a particular aspect of ASL grammar. However, there are no explanations accompanying the clips. To understand the clips, you need to go to the website www.ASLTales.net, choose your book, and select ASL Clues. Then you will see the same clips but with text explanations of each. This is extremely beneficial to hearing parents learning how to tell stories in ASL, but it would be better if these explanations were also in the DVD.

Finally, there are some errors in the DVD and the website: missing clips, incorrect glossary terms, and missing menu buttons. A bit more editing would make this product more user friendly.

All in all, this is a great book and DVD for deaf children and their hearing parents or for deaf students learning how to alternate between English and ASL in stories. A teacher-guided viewing of the DVD in conjunction with the book could lead to great discussions about elements of English (e.g., idioms, size/color of text, dialogue) and of ASL (e.g., role-shifting, non-manual markers, descriptive signs).

In a nutshell:

  • Beautiful illustrations
  • Expert ASL storyteller
  • Charming story with a twist
  • Plenty of features to choose from
  • Can be used at home or in an educational setting
  • Teaches new signers aspects of ASL storytelling
  • Website needs updating
  • Some errors in DVD

More Information

  • Type of Product: Book and DVD
  • Title: Rapunzel
  • Publisher: ASL Tales Canada
  • Year: 2008