A simple, predictable story of animal friends playing hide-and-seek loses itself in the telling.
Billy Beaver, Pinky Piglet, Robbie Rabbit, Elvis Elephant and Frankie Frog are playing hide-and-seek in this storybook app by German author/illustrator Dammann. Their adventure, enhanced by an enjoyable narrator, spot animation and a puzzle activity at the end, holds great potential, with colorful illustrations of adorable furry friends. But the app loses its way with a confusing story line, clunky, overworked text and snooze-worthy interactive elements. From the title, readers might assume that finding Frankie Frog is the point, but he doesn’t show up until the last page. Pinky Piglet (the only girl) hides in a bathtub full of suds, which is problematic for parents, who might be concerned at the notion of their children hiding underwater. By page six, no one has seen Frankie Frog, so Beaver suggests they all just go for a swim instead of finishing the game. Isn’t this story supposed to be about finding Frankie? Beyond the logical holes, a simple story for this age group shouldn’t require 50-75 words per page to move it along. Moreover, the language is clunky at best: The punch line on each page consists of a couplet that rhymes concealed/revealed, with minor variations. Lackluster sound effects—a flushing toilet, rubber toys that all squeak similarly, occasionally occurring circus music and birds chirping with butterflies in the air—complete this flimsy tale.
This is one adventure best left hidden. (iPad storybook app. 2-5)