A stubborn tree gets a perfunctory lesson about impermanence.
It would be interesting to know how many developers actually look at a children’s-book app as an amalgam of effective components. Interactive storybooks aren’t just about the concept; by nature, they’re also an experience, and the quality of that experience depends on the bundle. This app is a good case in point. The narrative is original and has the potential to be inspirational, but its telling is a bit dry and suffers from profoundly ineffective pacing. The tree’s unsuccessful struggle to preserve its leaves, for example, goes on for seven continuous screens. Then, on the eighth, readers see a sapling where the once obstinate tree had been. The end. There are very few interactive elements; the most interesting is the ability to move three tiny birds around in perfect synchronization. Gusts of wind produce ghostlike breezes that fly through the air like linear tumbleweeds. Optional narration must be summoned on each page with a tap. The app’s most glaring liability is the musical accompaniment, which drones on at a distracting volume without the option to turn it down or off.
This story may offer solid tutorials on the seasons and the existential benefits of detachment (pun intended), but its literary and technical vessels could use some work. (Requires iOS 6 and above.) (iPad storybook app. 4-7)