A child lies in bed contemplating what various nighttime sounds might be.
Lights are switched off, no one else is around and strange noises fuel an already-jumpy imagination. In this story, the protagonist hears assorted sounds and imagines numerous dangers and crises. Perhaps there’s a wild animal loose, and the police are chasing it. There's been an earthquake—but rescuers are on the way. Each presumption is fueled by everyday sounds, including a passing motorcycle, a whistling teakettle and footsteps on stairs. Each disruption is introduced by an image of what is really making the noise, followed by the protagonist’s ever-more-bloodshot eyes staring out of the dark; his thoughts appear as sentences that curl around his eyes, so he is literally surrounded by his fears. The story clearly demonstrates that many fears are silly conjectures that have no basis in fact. It’s likely to spawn conversations about being afraid of the dark—or anything, for that matter. Native English speakers may find the narrator’s heavy accent distracting (she refers to a “wild and hang-ry animal,” talks rapidly and even sounds downright sultry at times). The story can be narrated or read in English, Spanish or Italian, and the read- and record-it-myself options include original sound effects. Marionette-like characters, well-crafted animation and angled, floating text add significant graphic appeal. There’s even a painting feature that allows creations to be emailed directly from the iPad.
Great story idea, beautiful and well-functioning graphics—but mildly lacking in delivery. (iPad storybook app. 4-9)