A cute-enough, toy-filled app about space with one killer gimmick, this trip to the cosmos seems more like a quick orbit than any kind of deep exploration.
The app's opening page features an astronaut floating in space, the large area inside the helmet left blank, to be filled with a photo of the reader. Using the iPad's camera, a quick snapshot can be manipulated to fill the helmet, which will then appear in later pages. Once the photo is set, the app becomes an interactive, cheerfully illustrated set of pages leading to the inevitable countdown and liftoff. Readers learn what astronauts take on a mission (pizza and cupcakes are on the list, apparently) and play with a set of dials, buttons and a steering wheel. The photo appears in the helmet a few times, including a spacewalk encounter with a three-eyed, friendly alien. But just as the app gets going, the trip is over, ended with a close-up of the reader's face in the spacecraft's window and the text, "That's YOU!" The app has serviceable narration and can be heard in English and Dutch. But it could have used more than 12 pages of quick-moving setup and little-to-no story.
It's fun being an astronaut, but the vastness of the galaxy would seem to demand a little more investigation than this app provides. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)