Unusually brisk special effects animate this relatively less satiric but equally amusing adaptation of the classic tale.
Multiple taps transform a giggling block of wood in Geppetto’s workshop into a skinny, loose jointed puppet that suddenly delivers a Bronx cheer and then whirls away on a long series of misadventures. These culminate in a final change into a flesh-and-blood boy with help from a fingertip “paintbrush.” Quick and responsive touch- or tilt-activated features range from controllable marionettes, Pinocchio’s tattletale nose and Fire-Eater’s explosive sneeze to a movable candle that illuminates both Geppetto in the fish’s dark belly and the accompanying block of text. Even the thumbnail page images of the index (which opens any time with a shake of the tablet) tumble about, somehow without falling out of order. Though transitions are almost nonexistent in the episodic plot, the text is both substantial enough to have a definite presence and artfully placed in and around Conversi’s brightly colored settings and toylike figures. Text is available in English or Italian with a clear, understated optional audio narration backed by unobtrusive music. A link on the credits page leads to downloadable coloring sheets on the producer’s website.A fine introductory version, condensed to a highlights reel but lively enough to keep even younger audiences entertained. (iPad storybook app. 6-9)