An alternate track of instrumental rock adds an unusual dimension to this paraphrased version of the classic female-bondage/abandonment tale.
Working in an ornate Eastern European style, Ukraine-born Pogrebniak creates finely detailed, jewel-toned images of animals (and Thumbelina) dressed in gloriously complex traditional garb and accouterments. He poses them against thickets of flowers, rows of graceful leaves and sumptuously appointed domestic scenes. Though the simplified text reads awkwardly in spots (“Just before wedding Thumbelina went out” to escape the mole and shortly thereafter falls in love with an elf prince who “proposed her”) it properly takes Thumbelina from one male captor to the next as in the original. The special effects are varied, if not always well-designed. They range from a butterfly who twitches when tapped and smoke rings rising from the mole’s pipe to figures that can be moved—but block portions of the text if moved more than a little—and distinct background sounds. On several screens, most notably the climactic and final proposal scene, tapping a musical-note icon exchanges the relatively staid orchestral background music for a funky, if startlingly inappropriate, burst of quick-tempo electric guitar.
Not the slickest app ever, but the art is well worth second and third looks. (iPad storybook app. 7-9)