Thumbelina. Magic story for iPad (by Oleksandr Pogrebniak) is a kids’ book that presents a new rendition of the classic and beloved Thumbelina fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen. In this current iPad storybook rendition, kids (and parents) will enjoy 24 animated and interactive pages hiding 30 surprises, 17 captivating illustrations, and 9 original music tracks, which all together deliver a funky, almost psychedelic/60’s vibe story that comes off as fresh and new.
Thumbelina. Magic story for iPad has mesmerizing artwork that is very colorful and amazingly detailed, authentic background sounds and intriguing animations, as well as pleasant interactions throughout. This is not a story you’ll want to rush through. Starting at the opening page, I suggest you patiently wait before proceeding to the next page because you’ll want to spend a few moments drinking in the luxurious colors and phenomenal artwork while listening to the alluring instrumental rock ballad — and eagerly anticipating what lies ahead. I almost expected the next page to catapult me into a full-blown Jimi Hendrix-like jam session — it doesn’t happen, but the next page does present a colorful, hippy-looking mole character and all your navigation options.
The navigation is very well done, having a visual page-by-page table of the story contents to scroll through (and when not active, is accessed by tapping on the page number present on every page). You’ll also have 2 page-turn options: arrow icons or traditional page flip animations, as well as a choice to keep the music on in the story or not — personally, I like it on because the music adds another dimension to the overall groovy theme and colorful artwork. This kids’ books can be enjoyed in 2 languages: English or Russian (?), but I have to admit I was totally shocked to find out that there is no audio narration in this interactive storybook, which is very unusual these days — so you actually have to read it yourself — the old fashion way.
Another thing that felt different about this book, but strangely interesting, is that the story reading process becomes almost like a dance or orchestrated event. What I mean by this, is in order to enjoy all the components of the story telling (reading, animations, interactions, and music) you have to decide as you get to each page what to do first. Like on some pages you’ll want to listen to the background music and watch animations till they are done, and then read the text and look for interactions, but on other pages, you’ll want to touch animations first and then read text — you’ll have to experience the book yourself to truly understand what I’m talking about. Some pages have more interactions than others, but all are intriguing, like one of my favorites: the flowers, when tapped on they sound like keys on a piano. Many times, if you activate the animations you’ll have to wait for them to stop because they’ll cover the text making it hard to read. There is definitely a magical and “trippy” quality about this iPad book. Interestingly, some of the interactions are so subtle that you’d almost miss them, like blinking eyes, moving clouds, lights dimming in the colonnade, and a staircase and candles that light up.
As wonderful as this iPad storybook is, there is some slight wonkiness in the details: word spacing, words that are capitalized/not capitalized consistently, and 1 whole graphic (where Mouse is helping Thumbelina get ready for her wedding day to Mole) that I could drag all over the page; but then again, these idiosyncrasies seem to fit this unusual story version. One nice touch to this book is that the developers provide an opportunity to download a couple of free authentic wallpapers and e-cards. Thumbelina. Magic story for iPad is a peculiar and fun rendition of the classic tale, is reasonably priced, and will definitely stimulate your senses and spark your imagination.
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