This "omBook" adaptation of the newly released posthumous collection of seven Seuss stories is a sadly telling demonstration of the dangers of one-size-fits-all app development.
The look is clean, in keeping with Oceanhouse’s relatively conservative approach, with four to 12 lines of text on the screen next to an image. In read-it-myself and read-to-me modes, a swipe causes additional lines of text to appear on the screen, sometimes accompanied by a slight shift in the image's position, until the end of the book's printed page; only then does the app page turn. (In auto-play, readers are spared the swiping.) Word labels appear as readers touch figures on the screen—"shirt"; "Ikka"; "me"—and readers can press individual words in the text, triggering highlights and voiced pronunciation. But where this works beautifully with an early reader such as Green Eggs and Ham, it underwhelms with this book, which features very long lines of rhymed text and relatively few pictures. Readers find themselves looking at the same images as the text unfurls, swipe after swipe; one image in the titular story requires 10 swipes before the page turns. The need to compress the text onto the screen frequently results in lines that are cut in half, visually hamstringing the couplets. Moreover, not only do readers of the printed book enjoy the freedom of the page turn, they also get Charles D. Cohen's illuminating introduction.
Overall, the disappointingly bland treatment stifles the Seussian silliness readers expect. (iPad storybook app. 6-9)