A bare-bones, even emaciated retelling of and embellishment on "The Itsy Bitsy Spider."
Frankie, a very tiny, brown spider, is small even compared to blades of grass and ladybugs. One day, he encounters a mysterious cave from which emanates a dripping sound. He investigates what turns out to be the spout of a rain gutter. But rather than just being washed out and climbing back again, Frankie gets to do some surfing on a leaf on the way down. No longer afraid, and equipped with beach shorts, he heads back up. The story is simple, with sparse text and pleasant-enough watercolor illustrations. But except for a few sound effects, a blasting surf riff and animations so minimal readers may not even notice they're happening, this app offers little interaction. There's no real navigation, just a cumbersome pop-up menu that requires tapping the screen twice to call it up. (Readers won't even know it exists unless they happen to tap the screen twice.) All of these issues would be fine if the tale itself were truly transporting or charming, but instead, the lackluster animation, unremarkable writing and jarring music might make readers wish they were reading a better version of the original "Itsy."
There's nothing wrong with simplicity, but Frankie's story and the app built around it are so spare they can't possibly wash anyone out. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)Read full book review >