Oz is in the air: a new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical on stage in London, a Disney production in the works in Hollywood, and now an app from FlyingWord, Inc.
Author: L. Frank Baum
Title: The Wizard of Oz 3D
Illustrator: Greg Hildebrandt
Developed by: FlyingWord, Inc.
Platform: iOS, requires 3.0 or later
Gr 3-6-Not so much an app as an enhanced audiobook, The Wizard of Oz 3D offers the full text of L. Frank Baum’s original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (George M. Hill Co., 1900). The complete book can be read or listened to and users can cross from one mode to the other without losing their place in the text. The color and black-and-white illustrations are new for this version.
The interactivity, which does not come with directions, is limited to a zoom feature and a small amount of 3D manipulation and movement. Although Greg Hildebrandt’s illustrations are well suited to the text and beautifully rendered, the 3D effect falls flat. The two-actor narration and music are adequate, but some of the sound effects are distracting.
Navigation is basic. A simple tap on the audio icon at the top of the page toggles the sound on and off. The menu icon consists of the table of contents, four font-size options (the only customization allowed), and bibliographic information. If readers’ expectations are focused on an audio experience, then this app delivers. However, most users will expect more than simple movements and manipulations that fail to enhance the text experience.—Elisabeth LeBris, Sears School LTC Director