What begins as a simple story about a girl trying to restore her grandmother's torn hat becomes an unexpectedly detailed look at fashion treasures from a famous British museum.
Clara Button, who wears colorful buttons that change with a tap, loves to design hats as much as her late grandmother, who was a milliner, did. When one of her grandmother's hats is torn by a bratty brother, Clara is distraught. But amid the collections at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, she gets help for her hat and finds many other lovely objects from its extensive collections. The story is meticulously illustrated, with so much detail that many subtle touches (a child waving in a background photo, for instance) are nearly lost, even on an iPad's high-resolution screen. While interactive elements and animations are present throughout—readers can touch the screen at any time to get a splash of multicolored buttons—they don't distract from Clara's quest or what she finds at the V&A. The real-world art objects, expertly woven into Clara's visit, end up filling an exquisite final page. The app's cultural pedigree shouldn't be surprising, as de la Haye is a dress historian and former curator at the V&A. The rest of the app's features, from its no-nonsense narration to its musical accompaniment, are top-notch.
Not every reader will share Clara's strong affinity for fashion, but there's no denying the beauty of the showcased. (iPad storybook app. 4-12)