An adaptation of a 1966 baseball-themed Peanuts TV special preserves Schulz’s gloomy wisdom in seamlessly designed fashion.
Though it’s less well-known source material than A Charlie Brown Christmas, this tale is similar in tone, with realistically spiky exchanges and loads of anxiety for Charlie Brown, manager of a losing baseball team. This being Schulz, Charlie Brown must suffer unending verbal abuse and dashed hopes before a not-quite-happy ending. In its gorgeous app form, the lines among book, TV show and interactive experience are blurred by a design that gives readers control of the flow of the app without getting in the way of the story. Scenes are self-contained and easy to navigate, featuring voice clips from the original program, narration by original Linus actor Christopher Shea and familiar music by Vince Guaraldi, all edited expertly to sync with the pages. Action features, including interactive pitching, hitting, surfing and skateboarding, are worked unobtrusively into the narrative. A stand-alone scene that introduces the swipe-to-navigate mechanism before the story starts is an impressive fusion of comic-strip panels and subtle motion cues. That the app doesn’t resort to replicating TV animation and instead opts for the paper cut-out style that is a signature of the developer is another smart design choice.
It all comes together perfectly in this top-notch take on Peanuts—an easy home run. (iPad storybook app. 3-10)