THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD by Once Upon An App

THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD

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Age Range: 2 - 6
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Available on the App Store

KIRKUS REVIEW

Ironically, it’s a long, tough slog for readers to make it up the mountain along with the little train who thinks she can make it over. The app begins promisingly by allowing readers to choose a train color and load up the boxcars with toys and anthropomorphized candy and fruit. But once the train gets moving, the story, told only in voice-over with no accompanying text for children to read, sluggishly crawls along; graphics fill in slowly, leaving some objects floating in space for a moment or two as one scene cuts clumsily to the next. The text is not the Watty Piper original; that, though cloying to modern ears, at least did the job fairly quickly. This is extended and awkward, with no compensatory decrease in syrupy sentiment. Once the train is in motion, there’s no way to control the narrative beyond simply waiting until the little engine needs help getting up a mountain via a series of finger swipes. The animation, featuring clean but bland artwork that wouldn’t seem out of place in a low-budget video game, is choppy, and the tedious journey quickly loses its charm. The little engine that could ultimately makes it to town to deliver the goods to waiting children, but it feels like an interminable ride. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)


Screenshots

Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2011




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