Even more ambitious than its predecessor, Alice for the iPad, a mash-up that could have gone terribly wrong finds its own magical charm.
Following in the finger-steps of what was considered one of the first great children's story apps for the iPad, Atomic Antelope's next outing could have been a straightforward adaptation of Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. Instead the development studio has grafted the book's scenes neatly onto New York City. Tweedledum and Tweedledee are taxi drivers, the Red Queen is a colorful Statue of Liberty and the English countryside is replaced by an Empire State Building Observation Deck view of the city. If it sounds tacky (as the blaring soundtrack and blinking neon signage of the cover page suggest it to be), the careful mix of Carroll's original text—with only minor updates to adjust the setting—and the stunning adaptations of Sir John Tenniel's well-known illustrations will soon reassure readers. As with the previous app, the 26 animated, interactive pages are the show-stoppers; characters and objects wobble, sway or get tossed around based on touch. Incidental music and sound effects are evocative (the "Coney Island" page, for instance, is impressively immersive). Some of the marriage of text to setting seems almost too good to be true ("I declare it's marked out just like a large chessboard!" Alice says of New York City's grid), but purists will appreciate how much of Carroll's prose and poems are left intact.
A faithful—but not slavishly so—adaptation worthy of the Big Apple. (iPad storybook app. 5 & up)