A 2004 Dutch picture book about a little boy whose birthday gift delivers surprises receives an interactive update for an international audience.
When Timo receives a magical picture book for his birthday from his (mischievous) uncle Nick, he is told not to shake the book. If he does, everything will be mixed up. Of course, he learns this after he's already shaken the package madly. Once the book is opened, Timo, his mother, father and baby brother all wind up inside the pages, where everything defies gravity, and nothing is as it should be. Children will enjoy shaking the iPad to make the plates fly or yarn from Timo’s bobble hat move across the page. Tap Timo’s mother on page nine, and see and hear her “milk” the potted plant near the cow. The narration is engaging, Verplancke’s animated illustrations are whimsical and the story moves along at an attention-keeping pace. Parents will appreciate the menu option in the lower left-hand corner, which allows users to scroll page by page. Ultimately, though, the app under-delivers: The sound effects, while interesting on some pages, are strangely absent and/or flat in the most important scenes. For example, when the magical book begins and ends its magic, there is little to no sound to support it, and other golden opportunities go unmined.Overall, Timo’s interactive tale, like a colorful cupcake with just a smidge of icing, may lack appeal among the other, more fully frosted options available. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)