This serviceable iPad version of the classic stumbles, primarily over some fixable mistakes.
XiMAD Inc.'s version of the story, one of two takes on it currently available for the iPad, attempts to be as visually lush and inviting as Williams' tear-jerking text. By that measure, it mostly succeeds. For 31 pages (including the title screen) it's a lovely app, soft but precise, with the kinds of spring-loaded on-screen objects, tilt features and smartly integrated text that Alice for the iPad (2010) set the bar for shortly after the device debuted. But the elegance is lost whenever jarring, ugly pop-up ads appear in the free version of the app, covering the controls and interrupting the story. The ads aren't for other children's books or even toys (velveteen or otherwise); they're primarily for PC utilities unlikely to appeal to this tale's audience. Less forgiveable is a glaring problem late in the story: One paragraph of text is repeated from a prior page, and another paragraph is completely missing, pulling the stuffing out of an important story point. Other than those two major problems and, of lesser importance, a lack of options beyond turning the background music off, this adaptation works. At least it works much better than the Ruckus Mobile Media version in the App Store, a dated, unsatisfying rendition that this one easily bests.
With some quick fixes, this one could become closer to Real and worthy of a young reader's love. (iPad storybook app. 5-8)