Designed to resemble a set of digital trading cards but offering several interactive features, this album will dazzle young fans of all that is scaly, clawed and dangerous to encounter.
Crouched, glowering ill-temperedly up at viewers, the 20 resplendently colored and detailed dragons in the opening gallery include Fafnir, Beowulf’s dragon and others from cultures worldwide, as well as creatures drawn from Tolkien, Harry Potter and the Neverending Story. The postage-stamp–sized images can be pinched, zoomed and grouped either manually or into geographical origin, type or other prearranged order. Double-tapping any image opens an introductory descriptive paragraph, notes on size and range, a further gallery of three pictures (one of which is a coloring sheet) that can be printed, a brief legend and a closing barrage of quick facts. A tap of the button near each dragon activates a low-volume grumble that often sounds more like gastric distress than a roar, and at least some of the art is recycled from several print publications. Nevertheless, the mix of melodramatic eye candy and bite-sized commentary will go down as smoothly and easily as an unwary treasure seeker.Well-read young Dragonologists may experience some déjà-vu but should still get a kick out of the app’s unusual design. (iPad informational app. 7-9)