A spectacular iPad adaptation of Anholt’s children’s book about van Gogh, his art and his friendship with a French family.
When van Gogh moved to Arles, France, in 1888, a postman and his family befriended the Dutch painter. This book is about what may have happened during van Gogh’s time in Arles, as seen from the perspective of the young boy in the Roulin family, Camille. Anholt’s magnificent illustrations quite literally spring to life, as 3-D figures and characters “pop out” and move, then collapse back into the two-dimensional background when the page is turned. Each page displays a cog in the upper left-hand corner that, when touched, produces an x-ray image of the armature that animates the moving parts. Touch a character, and a window pops up with two options. The first, most appropriately, is a painter’s palette that affords readers several tools with which to paint the characters. The second is a set of cogs that summons the x-ray armature again, but when tapped the mechanism collapses and readers race the clock to reassemble it. There’s a museum feature embedded in the story whereby readers can view and learn about many of the famous paintings van Gogh painted while living in Arles. Narration is easily switched off or on, and though navigation isn’t exceptionally speedy, it’s appropriately timed and precise.
An exceptionally bright and beautiful masterpiece. (iPad storybook app. 6-12)