A superficial, lackluster adaptation of Richmond’s 2010 traditional book.
The defining feature (and marketing push) of this app is personalization. Alongside the requisite reading options, there’s a button that says, “Put me in the story.” Readers can insert a photo into a Polaroid-like frame and enter a child’s name, which supposedly makes them part of the story. But really, it doesn’t: The photo is never to be seen again after the initial screens, and the use of the child’s name to label items (“[child’s name]’s bed”) is lost on little “readers,” as this book is clearly aimed at pre-readers. Do parents really need a teleprompter to mention their child’s name in the narrative? In personalized mode, most of the book’s pages are silent, though a few have sound effects like crickets chirping, a cat purring or bubbles forming in the bathtub. There is a “Read to me” option, though the personalization disappears when it is chosen. Throughout the story, glimmering stars indicate interactive hotspots, alerting readers to profoundly primitive interactions—twirling buttons and stars, to name a few. This book is one installment in a series designed to personalize “bestsellers, award winners and classics,” but the gimmick doesn’t even come close to justifying the adaptation (at least in this case).
Don’t be fooled by the hype: For a much better treatment of “personalization,” check out Mo Willems’ Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App! (2011). (iPad storybook app. 1-4)