Price: Free to $1.99
We’ll be frank about this: We’ve had more children’s literature books and eBook renditions run across our iPad’s than a road in the American West has tumbleweeds. However, as battle weary as we might be, that experience hasn’t blinded us to the fact that developer XIMAD’s Christmas book bundle (including Twas The Night Before Christmas HD, Twelve Days of Christmas HD, and the free Nutcracker) is a real treat. The artwork is brilliant, the readings classic, and the iPad implementation nearly flawless. If you’re looking for a cheap and exciting way to read to your children during the Holiday season, we’d be hard pressed to find a better set of apps to recommend. For our full thoughts on all three titles, check beyond the break, as well as the video above.
Concept and Functionality
In terms of raw conceptuality, each of the three eBooks are nothing new on the iPad. The reading material is presented in a page-by-page format that can be flicked or scrolled through with the barest touch of a finger. And of course, the classics themselves have been unabridged: Which in this case is quite the mark in the suite’s favor. However, it’s in the very implementation of the artwork that things become, shall we say, animated. Each page comes with an immense wealth of touchable, clickable, or flickable objects. To an extent, your child could touch or swing almost anything on the page, and then watch it react in a lively manner. We were floored by the level of detail included here, as most children’s ebooks we see are fairly static. However, all three of XIMAD’s Holiday specials look alive, an aspect that really helps to bring the stories to light.
And of course we also enjoyed the Holiday soundtracks and various other sounds. We were slightly saddened to find a lack of read-to-me functionality, but considering you’re likely to be browsing through the app with your child, it’s probably best to do the honors yourself.
Artwork and Design
We cannot emphasize this enough: The artwork in all three apps is unbelievably delightful. We were especially fond of the rich, intricate illustrations in Twelve Days of Christmas HD. Each offering bears its own unique style, a fact we also greatly appreciated. This is not a repackaging of the same work in all three cases, but a wholly re-imagined piece that easily stands on its own. And as mentioned, every page comes loaded to the gills with heaps of animations and lively interactive elements: All of which are guaranteed to please your child.
We did have a few complications with the page bar along the bottom, however. Occasionally we would yank on it in an attempt to get it to move up, only to have it slide back below the page. We found the easiest way to pull it forward was to simply tap it, but this is certainly a tiny complaint in the face of a much larger success.
Both Twas the Night Before Christmas HD and The Twelve Days of Christmas HD will run you two dollars in the App Store, while the Nutcracker for iPad costs exactly nothing, though it comes with advertisements. No matter which title you choose, though, XIMAD has made them all worth their weight in App Gold. Considering a typical hardback book costs upwards of $15, spending two dollars at most for an eBook application is an absolute bargain. And with so many animations and engaging ornaments of their own, each of the titles will assuredly bring some much needed Holiday zest to your festivities this year. XIMAD’s work earns a full recommendation from us, as well as a standing ovation.
A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
The iPhone app reviews rating: