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developed by zuuka

Age Range: 4 - 9

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 2011
Publisher: zuuka

A spawn of the critically acclaimed 2011 holiday film.

Having spent millions on the development and production of blockbuster CGI films, it’s a no-brainer to put that investment to good use by licensing as many products as possible—especially when the movie strikes box-office gold. This app will undoubtedly ride the lucrative coattails of its 3-D, animated progenitor, but it doesn’t add much of anything to the experience. On Christmas Eve, one toy accidentally doesn’t get delivered, and Arthur is the only one in the Claus family who truly cares about the present-less kid. The story chronicles his all-out attempt to include little Gwen in Santa’s munificence, and in the process he becomes the story’s hero. All 40 pages are adorned with crisp 3-D computer illustrations from the movie—and they are stunning. Readers can briefly animate a few scenes using a scrollbar that provides fleeting moments of interaction and movement. Beyond that, the app is a collection of screenshots accompanied by a run-of-the-mill narrative adapted from the story line of the film. The “bonus features”—which include a “wrap the bike” activity that takes all of five seconds and a “lull the lions” game that’s nothing more than a duplicated page from the story—are astonishingly meager and slapdash.

See the movie; skip the book. Here’s hoping the next silver-screen adaptation gets the effort it deserves. (iPad storybook app. 4-9)