An adaptation of the fairy tale features panoramic 3-D interaction.
Though the bare-bones framework of the traditional tale is left intact, this version finds a baker trying to help his daughter, Arabella, marry her true love, the prince. He tells the king that his daughter can spin gold out of straw, but, of course, the monarch wants proof. Arabella is locked in a dungeonlike room filled with straw; a mischievous elfin creature appears to produce the gold and then later returns to collect her firstborn. This retelling is dripping with the classic fairy-tale sentiments that make feminists want to burn their bras. Arabella is a ridiculously docile damsel in distress who is completely at the mercy of the men in her life (and seems fully on board with being a passive poker chip in their high-stakes card game). On the plus side, the panoramic, zoomable computer-animated pages are impressive, providing both sweeping and telephoto views of the 360-degree digital stage. Readers can do things like light and extinguish torches, whirl the spinning wheel and toss gold coins (though they may be chastised for doing so). Developers succeed in creating an authentic old-world feel, at least until Arabella asks the wee wizard if his name is SpongeBob or Patrick.
The graphics, animation and interaction are fine, but they fail to turn a hollow, unimaginative narrative into gold. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)