An iPad adaptation of Begin’s traditional book adapting Goethe’s classic poem.
Most kids will think more about Mickey Mouse than about Goethe when they hear the title. This rendering certainly isn’t as showy and sparkly as the Fantasia version. But it does feature a similar storyline, which of course involves a massive flood and an army of anthropomorphic brooms. The book’s illustrations have a classic medieval fairy-tale vibe, with the sorcerer looking like a cross between The Wizard of Oz’s Cowardly Lion and a blue-eyed, blond-haired Sunday School Jesus. The images are laser-sharp and colorfully—almost too much so—vibrant; despite animations, human figures are quite wooden. In a legacy of its print beginnings, pictures typically illustrate the text that was presented on the previous page. Certain words or phrases—indicated by a golden color—produce small, quick animations to enhance the story. The musical score is impressive; it’s unfortunate that neither the credits nor the developer’s website offer any information about it. Begin’s take on the narrative is solid but shallow. At one point, the sorcerer tells his young female apprentice that someday she’ll understand why, “The hard work of a Sorcerer is not the same as that of an apprentice.” By the end of the story, she’s enlightened, but readers are left in the dark about that particular plot point.
All at once beautiful, garish and a bit prosaic. (iPad storybook app. 6-10)