This ambitious flight to Neverland crashes and burns from the get-go.
The vastly abridged text runs to quick summaries and paraphrased lines like “Take a right after the second star and then go straight until morning!” and accompanies cartoon-style illustrations replete with small figures that fly, gesticulate, pop into view or otherwise move at a touch. Those and a font toggle and vowel highlighter on every page are about the only features that work well, however. The page turns are balky, pausing the audio narration (offered in four languages, plus a self-record option), as are many of the textual features. An "explain to me" tab at the bottom highlights selected words; tapping on them will (sometimes) trigger an automated pronunciation and open explanatory windows that are more or less helpful. Touching "following," for instance, brings up the baffling "going before"; if readers notice that the "opposite" tab at the bottom of that pop up is highlighted, they might deduce that it is an antonym for the word that they wanted explained. Sweeping “fairy dust” across any screen from a pot at the bottom cuts off the narration. In the art, Neverland’s stereotypical Indians are joined on other pages by glimpses of a spear-carrying African and an Arab with a rifle.
Sophisticated animations are wasted on an app that is still several major updates short of mediocrity. (iPad storybook app. 5-8)