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Review: ‘Puff, the Magic Dragon’

If you’ve never seen or heard one of Peter, Paul, and Mary’s performances of “Puff the Magic Dragon,” take a look and listen here. A book version of the song written by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton was published by in 2007, and with the release of this app, a pop-up edition hit the stands.

Title: Puff, the Magic Dragon
Author: Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton
Illustrated by: Eric Puybaret
Published by: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
Developed by: Padworx Studios
Platform: iOS, requires 4.0 or later; Android; Nook Book
Version: 1.0.1
Price: $1.99 iOS & Android; $7.99 Nook Book

PreS-Gr 2-In the early 1960s, Peter Yarrow and Leonard Lipton took a poem written by Lipton and turned it into a tune. Since then, generations of children have listened to the Peter, Paul, and Mary song “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” about a boy who befriends and plays with a dragon until he grows up and leaves the creature behind. As the song goes, “A dragon lives forever, but not so little boys.”

In the 2007 book version by Yarrow and Lipton (Sterling), a little girl and a happier ending are introduced. In this edition, while the boy (Jackie Paper) grows older, the dragon finds another playmate, presumably Paper’s daughter. In the app, viewers will spy a man watching as the girl meets the dragon.

Padworx Studio’s “Puff” is based on the new lyrics by Yarrow and Lipton and illustrated by Eric Puybaret. The story is sung by Peter Yarrow and Bethany Yarrow. In addition to “Play Song,” “Read to Me” and “Read Myself” options are available. Viewers will enjoy the whimsical animation found throughout, including tilt-screen and touch-activated features. Sound effects have also been added.

The soft-hued illustrations feature a large green dragon that takes up lots of screen space when he is there; when he isn’t, expanses of flat colors predominate. The boy, who appears to be closer in age to a teen, is fairly expressionless.

Navigation is simple; red icons indicate where to tap the screen to turn pages or return to the main menu. However, in the “Read to Me” mode, the narration stopped midway through the text on some screens. In all modes, the print size is small.

While this has long been a favorite song, wait until the bugs have worked out before purchasing.—Lisa Katz, Neil Cummins Library, Corte Madera, CA


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