Written in high-toned language—“The old woman was anything but lonely, for she had befriended her solitude almost as another, separate self”—and narrated at a deliberate pace over unobtrusive music and sound effects, the story takes a pedlar from her dusty home to a distant city, driven by a tantalizing dream. The dismissive comment of a city guard about a treasure dream of his own that describes the old lady’s home sends her back, where, beneath her own tree, she discovers a bubbling spring that transforms her sere yard into a lush oasis. The art is primarily done in neutral blue-gray tones (except at the end) with spare, precisely drawn details and naturally posed figures. As each page is a short animated loop, turning the Text Display off and the Auto Page Turn on converts the app into a close approximation of conventional video. Other options include voiceovers in Spanish or French, and also a self-record button. In place of distracting touch-activated details, random small changes are designed in that make each pass-through different, and on each new page individual letters of the text fetchingly cascade down, arrange themselves in order and then can be “dumped” to the edge by tilting the tablet.
A magisterial rendition, with the digital bells and whistles kept firmly in service to the story. (source note) (iPad storybook app. 7-11)