As one of the most celebrated stories in American pop culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been reprinted many times and even adapted into movies and Broadway musicals. Of course, it shouldn't come as a surprise that it is now available as digital books, too. If your juniors are new to the world of Oz, one app that I highly recommend is The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for iPad by publisher Random House Digital.
We're off to See the Wizard!
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for iPad is a wonderful book app that retells the adventures of Dorothy Gale and her friends as they journey into Emerald City to find the great and powerful Oz. The app comes with two reading options: Picture Book and Original Novel.
Most suitable for young children and early readers, Picture Book is an abridged version of the story. It is more comes fully narrated with word highlighting to assist early readers, as well as beautiful, interactive illustrations. A special feature is the atmospheric, original soundtrack that plays throughout the the entire tale.
Original Novel, as the name suggests, offers the full novel — all 24 chapters of them — for your reading enjoyment. Like Picture Book mode it is interspersed with interactive color illustrations and also includes an original soundtrack. However, there is no narrator so it is more suitable for older kids. Exclusive to this mode is a foreword written by author L. Frank Baum and a map showing all the quadrants that make up the land of Oz.
Parents Need to Know
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for iPad is best used by juniors ages five and up. The app offers two reading modes for readers at different reading levels.
Picture Book, the simpler version of the story, is approximately 50 pages long, and includes a brilliant narration. However, if you can also turn the narration off by tapping on the bookmark ribbon on the top right of the screen.
Both reading modes come with a shortcut for jumping to specific parts of the story. In Picture Book, tap on the page number to bring up a slider for navigating through the scenes. In Original Novel, tap on the ribbon to bring up the chapter selector.
It is notable that the app doesn’t include in-app purchases, ads, or external links.
Things I Like
The app does a great job in retaining the original feel of the beloved children's classic. I am in love with the top-notch narration and ambient music. When reading the book with headphones on, they conjure up the feeling that you are really accompanying Dorothy on her imaginative quest.
The illustrations by Shaun Pendergast are also lovely. The dark, moody color palette is a departure from the bright pictures found in most children’s book apps, but it works really well in this app. The interactivity further enhances the reading experience. I only wish that more scenes are interactive, such as the one where Dorothy and her friends arrive at the dangerous poppy field.
Another comment that I have is that the storytelling for the second half of the abridged version feels a bit rushed when compared to its first half. That said, it is still an excellent adaptation, containing just enough details to allow new readers to immerse themselves in this magical tale.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for iPad is a compelling and immersive adaptation of a beloved classic. In fact, it is one of the most beautiful book apps I have ever seen. The stunning visual presentation combined with an excellent narration and the possibility to choose between two story modes, makes it a must-have on your iPad.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is available for iPad
Get it on the App Store: iPad
App was provided for our honest review.
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