** Through 12/31/2011, all proceeds of "Rabbit Ears" apps from Ruckus Media will go to St. Jude Children's Hospital. ** The Velveteen Rabbit is a classic book that has been re-imagined in digital form many times. This version, in fact, is one of those digital transformations. Unfortunately it is taken straight from the 1985 video presentation narrated by Meryl Streep in a rather pretentious, and artificial, British accent. The piano accompaniment from George Winston is beautiful, of course, and the video presentation of the book is certainly enjoyable. As an iPad book, though, this title fails to really take advantage of the platform.
The book includes a video that pans over the beautiful illustrations and includes Streep's narration, lasting nearly 25 minutes. The 'book' version to be read comes in at over 100 pages, though, much too long for me to make it through even once with my child, let alone take advantage of the ability to record my own narration. The addition of narration to the 'book' version or at least automatic page turning would be a great advantage over trying to make it through all those page swipes.
The video is really the highlight of this title, however it looks and feels like the 1980's VCR presentation it was adapted from ... a presentation that certainly enchants viewers in its own way, but ultimately is so 'old-school' that it feels more lazy than nostalgic. The lack of high-resolution images in the video really stands out in comparison to most of the other children's book apps that I've reviewed.
Overall, this is a nice title for watching a video performance of a beloved book. The music is amazing, and the pacing and presentation are quite beautiful. But if you're looking for a way to simply read the classic tale of a toy bunny that comes to life after being loved so well by a little boy, this title misses the mark.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Margery Williams/David Jorgensen
Ruckus Media Group
20 - 30 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 10
The full text of this story is available from the archives of the Digital Library from Penn Libraries.