An interactive take on the classic folk song sluggishly brings this familiar tune to life.
Leveraging both the striking illustrations from the 2007 book and the familiar music, this tale should translate naturally to the digital format, but the animation hamstrings a seamless presentation. Many scenes feature Jackie and Puff frolicking, but the two characters, especially Jackie, appear pixelated, and motions are distractingly jerky and frustratingly slow. Also, transitions between pages present long pauses during which the song continues, but the screen remains black. There are some pluses: Simple navigation enables readers to move back and forth by clicking arrows in the bottom corners of each page, while an additional feature allows them to jump directly to particular pages. Other interactive opportunities include clicking on stars sprinkled throughout the text and thereby animating certain creatures, swiping pages to the left and right to expand the illustrations and, in one instance, tilting the iPad to steer a ship. Readers can enjoy the book by following along to the song, reading to themselves or listening to a narrator. In the narrated version the words are highlighted as they are read, but in a few cases the narrator outpaces the highlighting.
Stick with low-tech for now. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)