A handsomely illustrated, moderately interactive portrayal of the famous poem.
First published in the early-19th century, this 14-stanza ballad is familiar to many but probably doesn’t get the amount of airtime it used to. This particular adaptation isn’t a standout in terms of interactive wowability, but it offers enough to keep little ones engaged while they become familiar with the classic verse. The poem is stretched across eight pages (easily navigable using a tap- and tilt-sensitive scene-selection filmstrip), each one sporting a simple, warm illustration that includes one or more interactions. Characters and objects float across the screen, many of which can be held, moved or flung. The app is very sensitive to gravity (or rather has been programmed to appear so), which often makes tilting the tablet a highly effective interaction. On the opening page, Christmas balls fall from a wreath and can be ricocheted around the screen much like billiards. On the audio side, there are no sound effects or narration, just an instrumental loop of “Deck the Halls” that drones on in the background—though it can be silenced (highly recommended). Other than scene selection, there is no menu, except a tab that showcases the developer's other books.
For nostalgic and literary purposes this app fits the bill, but beyond that there’s nothing that warrants labeling it a “must-read.” (iPad storybook app. 3-8)