The classic tale of a youngest son’s rise to aristocratic glory (thanks to a clever feline impresario) is positively slathered with interactive distractions.
The app is set to a quaint telling of Perrault’s story (“…it was not at all queer that the king’s daughter at once fell deeply in love with him”); Janovics is given translation credit, but it appears to borrow heavily from multiple English-language versions available on the Internet. Every page of cartoon illustrations features animations and also figures and furniture that can be moved around with a finger (or sometimes by tilting the tablet), but that’s only the beginning. Audiences can select an (optional) audio narration in any of six languages or record their own voices and sound effects. Along with visual elements that bounce comically into view on each new page, touches activate brief comments or sound effects. Viewers can also run up game scores by tapping leaping fish or coins in different scenes, trigger the ogre’s magical transformations (by carefully tracing a variety of runes) and dress both the cat and the supposed “Marquis of Carabas.” Despite the lack of a shortcut from the closing credits back to the home screen, plus heavy-handed internal marketing in the form of multiple links to prepared, sendable e-mail and Facebook raves, this whimsical flight of fancy both merits and will reward repeat visits from readers.Funny, familiar and (almost) over-endowed with special features. (iPad storybook app. 7-9)