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THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD—THE AUTHORIZED VERSION by Watty Piper

THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD—THE AUTHORIZED VERSION

By Watty Piper (Author) , Penguin Group USA (Developer)

Age Range: 3 - 8


Stranded toys on the tracks and the little blue train engine who saves them are presented in a solid mix of old and new in Penguin Group's "Official" app based on the classic story. Animating the version of the story credited to Watty Piper (a pseudonym of Platt & Munk publisher Arnold Munk), the app begins with the illustrations that date back to the 1950s and does an admirable job making the digital version seamless. It retains the style and intent of the original version, but it doesn't skimp on multimedia features like read-along narration, objects that can be moved around the screen or tapped for sound effects and animation that dazzles without overwhelming the story or feeling too tacked-on. The blue engine, who famously chants, "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can," as she travels up a daunting mountain, leads a large assortment of large stuffed bears, dolls, a clown and other colorful characters. On some pages, the contents of the train can be rearranged, and individual characters can be manipulated; a giraffe's neck can be flicked to make the toy animal's head bob, for instance. More-subtle effects—puffs of engine smoke, leaves moving atop water—and visual cues that show young readers where to press the screen to interact show admirable attention to detail. In just about every way, it is far superior to the other, "unofficial" Little Engine That Could app currently available. Even the page index, allowing readers to skip to a specific page, is presented as a series of connected, scrolling boxcars; it's a rolling train within the story of one determined little engine. (iPad storybook app. 3-8)