A relatively small number of animations and interactive effects embellish an engaging, sometimes laugh-out-loud detective story. This third case for young sleuth Violet, aka “Phantom Girl,” and her trusty canine sidekick Phantom Dog sends the pair into the snow to check out new neighbor Maxwell—“MaxMan”—and then help him find a lost bottle-cap badge. As in previous episodes, each scene offers readers the option to read the text silently or, with a tap of a corner button, to hear it read by the author (who sounds about Violet’s age). For children fond of skipping around or going back to favorite pages, there is an index of thumbnail images that can be called up at any time by tapping another corner button. With further taps, items in the lively cartoon scenes that are outlined in yellow expand into clues or closer views. The background music is unobtrusive, but it can also be turned off at the beginning. As in previous outings, the tale gives readers three chances to make choices that create short loops in the plot. Here, though, readers can pause for a fast-paced video-game–style snowball fight and also for a comical game of touch-the-bird. These diversions, along with the occasional blink, wave or moveable toy, are so well placed that there seem to be more than there actually are. All enhance the overall air of high good humor. (iPad storybook app. 6-8)
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