A lazy hippo learns to lead a more active life through his love of dance in this cheery but ultimately middling story.
Oswald’s easy, floating-on-the-river lifestyle changes when he's inspired to dance at the dragonfly ballet. The laughter from his peers lets Oswald know that his clumsy moves could use work. Oswald decides to get in shape (or at least whatever passes for svelte in the hippopotamus community) and learn to dance. He gives a great performance and invites the flamingos, alligators and other hippos to join in. The brief story is enhanced by some small, unobtrusive animation, a bit of music and some very nice dragonfly-trail effects when one of them is moved around the screen. But Oswald ultimately doesn't stand out very much in his own story—quite literally. It's hard to tell him apart from other blue hippos in the story, and his year of training is over almost as soon as it begins. The animations for Oswald's dance are exuberantly rendered, and his exercise regimen is inspiring ("His sobs soon turned into moans and groans…. [E]ven though he had to work very hard, he never gave up”). Even with coloring pages and puzzles, this doesn't distinguish itself in the crowded app market.
Oswald seems likable enough, but aside from a few design flourishes, his story doesn't end up living large in the imagination the way a memorable hippo's should. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)