A storybook with a clear, easy-to-understand message about embracing the similarities of friends who live under different circumstances, this app succeeds even if its page structure proves cumbersome.
Melissa, or "Miss Priss" as she's known to her family, is a little girl who wears a princess crown and has a best friend named Sasha. In her chirpy voice, she narrates a series of observations about Sasha. Melissa tells readers at the start that Sasha has a wheelchair and "[s]leeps in a special, super cool bed." But thereafter, Melissa doesn't focus on Sasha's unspecified disability. Instead, she recounts all the ways that the two girls are alike, from the apple juice boxes they enjoy to the trouble they get into when they throw tantrums. The two girls love apples and hate Brussels sprouts. Sasha plays the piano, and Melissa loves to join in as they sing together. Appropriately, the app matter-of-factly points out the one way that Sasha is different without belaboring the point. She is simply a little girl who happens to be Melissa's best friend, and their widely varying expressions indicate that have they a great time together. The app itself offers no extra options or frills beyond arrows or finger swipes to turn each page. The one misstep is that many pages contain text that reads "Tap here" to display an additional, paired page. It's easy to miss that text, and each time it's employed, it brings the reader back to the original page rather than advancing the story. There ought to be a more elegant way to read straight through.
It's a nice-enough book with a well-handled message, but probably not one that holds up to too many repeated readings. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)