Bright, busy and oh-so-bland cartoons positively festooned with touch-activated effects carry this newly rhymed version of the classic fable.
No one's going to visit this for the labored text. It sacrifices scansion to rhyme, pounds the moral home and ends on a trite note (“Tortoise and Hare remain friends to this day, / Enjoying the sunshine as they work and play”). At least it, along with the relentlessly chipper British narrator, can be switched off—unlike the sound effects and the brassy, short-looped musical track. Children are likely to care less about the plot anyway than the interactions. They can make the racers and many of the animal onlookers in the woodsy scenes leap and giggle, hiss, chirp, chuckle, nod, cheer, pant, flap wings, blink or (even Tortoise does this, and during the actual race, too) pop into and out of shells with a touch. In service to repeat visitors who may be less interested in the story than in the effects, a button visible on every screen in both the manual and the “Auto Play” options opens a menu with access to a strip of thumbnails to expedite fast navigation. That same menu, plus multiple links at beginning and end offer easy access to the publisher’s other titles in the App Store.
Plenty of superficial child appeal, but the writer and the illustrator remain deservedly cloaked in anonymity. (iPad storybook app. 4-6)