Though this adaptation of the classic cuts down on the original's more lyrical flights of fancy in favor of a closer focus on plot, the richly sentimental tone remains in full force.
Coming in at just under 200 golden-toned "pages" with chipped and discolored borders, North's abridgment drops some chapters (notably "Piper at the Gates of Dawn"), combines some others and simplifies Grahame's language without robbing it of its pastoral flavor. Nearly every other screen features a color or outline sketch illustration done in a distinctly Ernest Shepard–ish style—with, in most cases, the addition of touch- or tilt-sensitive animations. Enhanced by low-volume sound effects and snatches of music, these range from quick changes of expression and ripples in water to a wild, multiscreen motorcar joy ride and an image of Toad that can be clad in a variety of fetching dresses to expedite his escape from prison. The strip-index thumbnails are too small to be easily identifiable, but they do expedite quick skipping back and forth; less conveniently, there is no bookmarking. Furthermore, there is no audio narration, though links at the end do lead to complete print and sound versions of the classic.
Despite some room for improvement, this rendition lends itself equally to shared or independent reading and is likely to become as well-thumbed as it already looks. (iPad storybook app. 9-11)