A destructive lad gets a proper outlet for his energies in a story app positively festooned with funny special effects and side business.
In an extreme case of adrenalin rush, barely is birthday-party invitee Nash through the door than he’s out of control. He begins wildly smashing toys, gifts, favors and even the cake—potentially over and over, thanks to touch-activated animations and slidable tabs and wheels on every screen. Clued in at last by the tears raining from fellow partygoers (plus a water level that rises or falls with a slider), he “feels like a twit” and tries unsuccessfully to match the pieces of various damaged toys (with more sliders, “[h]e gives the cake a hat while the doll gets a bat. The train wears a gown and the fish sports a crown”). He is about to depart in disgrace when birthday girl Sue forgivingly hands him a pole and points him toward the piñata. POW! Along with the main actions, tapping or swiping many of the figures and background details in each retro-style cartoon scene activates an animation or sound effect, occasionally a different one each time. On the final page there’s even a digital paintbrush that smears a new layer of “frosting” on the cake. The voiced narration is as smooth as the animations, but it can also be switched off.Despite some clumsy versifying, as fine and fun a way as ever was to re-channel (temporarily, at least) the beast within. (iPad storybook app. 6-9)