A rousing abridgment of the classic tale is buoyed by atmospheric sound effects and hearty digital surprises.
Though not all of the 91 screens feature interactive effects, each is illustrated. These are usually multilayered and shadowy, and all are unfailingly evocative of the violent events, exotic locales and dramatic highlights young Jim describes in the overlaid narrative. Automated animations include moving strips of scenery and eerie fade-ins, among others. The frequent touch-activated features (each of which is cued by an inconspicuous icon) are an unusually diverse mix: Sliders cause figures to rise or fog to clear, spinners focus a spyglass or spin a skeleton around a compass rose, cannon fire with a tap. Three-dimensional looks are achieved with moveable scenes viewed through a window. The background audio is similarly varied, switching from a hornpipe to a melodramatic orchestral blare with a turn of the page or presenting a medley of creaking timbers, seagull cries, crashing waves and low muttering. A tap at any page’s bottom brings up buttons to turn the sound off, check a glossary or open a “Contents” strip of page-by-page thumbnails.
Avast! Young mateys not ready for the original will get an eyeful, an earful and a taste of the timeless pirate adventure that awaits. (iPad storybook app. 8-11)