A raindrop takes a circular journey from forest to ocean to cloud and back in an app that still needs major work.
Dubbed “Ayashi” (Chippewa for “Little One”), the drop falls from a leaf tip into a stream that flows down through a city and into a bay. She is then drawn up into the sky by Father Sun, joins other droplets in a cloud, falls in night rain and again wakes on a leaf. The illustrations, all of which pointlessly have lines and shadows running down their centers to simulate the gutter of a book, resemble photographs that have been processed to look like out-of-focus or pixilated paintings of land- and seascapes. Many screens are still images, even (as in scenes of an ocean reef and of billowing clouds) when there are references to movements in the accompanying narrative, and several of the rare touch-activated animations—a water drop that plunges like a lead weight into a stream, shooting stars that appear with a tap but only in portions of a night sky—aren’t quite right. Sound effects are bright and distinct, but they frequently continue even after one or more new pages have been swiped into view, and selecting the audio narration option at the beginning activates an autoplay with no “pause” button.
An unvarnished, if (appropriately) atmospheric introduction to the water cycle. (iPad storybook app. 6-8)