The Pedlar Lady for iPad Review

Our Review by Chris Kirby on September 15th, 2010
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: MOVING WORDS
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It's not particularly interactive, but Moving Tales' Pedlar Lady makes up for that with a compelling graphic and auditory style.

Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.01
Device Reviewed On: iPad

iPad Integration Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Re-use Value Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

I've never heard of the old folk tale(s) that The Pedlar Lady originated from, but the notion of reading this story in an enhanced ebook format was an opportunity I could not resist. Since the iPad appeared, the device has been hailed as the harbinger of a new age in publishing, but most of that has been in the form of periodicals and traditional print ebooks like those available for the Kindle and for Apple's iBook store. A few experimental books have appeared, like Elements or Alice, and these push the boundaries of what books can and should do. The Pedlar Lady is another example of this sort of book app.

I won't say much about the story of The Pedlar Lady except to say that it has a rustic charm that is fairly irresistible. The story is plainly and simply told, but it carries with it the aura of ancient legend. Credit goes to developer Moving Tales for not trying to make the story more than what it is, and instead focusing on accompanying the story with visuals that are deceptively complex.

The graphics are sophisticated 3D, but the color pallette is kept so limited it allows even these high-tech images to seem old and worn in a way. Color in general is limited to only a few objects (except for two gorgeously rendered traveling scenes that look like moving paintings), so the words take precedence over everything else.

Those selfsame words are wonderfully read by a narrator who affects a convincing and gentle Irish dialect (one version of The Pedlar Lady story originated in Ireland). You can turn off the narration if you wish, but I was charmed by it. Still, it might be interesting to read it aloud yourself, particularly to a young child.

If there's a weakness to be found with The Pedlar Lady, it's that it is not as interactive as I had expected. It is very much a moving book - nothing less and nothing more. Touching objects on the screen yields nothing (except occasional mistaken page turns) and the most interactive the app gets is when you turn the iPad from portrait to landscape mode - the narration stops and the letters tumble convincingly across the page.

This is a minor quibble, however, as a book is not the same thing as a game, and interactivity can also interfere with the flow of the story. Accept The Pedlar Lady for what it is - a beautifully conceived and designed childrens book that is bound to charm anyone of any age.

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