An album of pretty, if bland, nature photos paired to a heavy-handed conservation message and homespun interactive effects.
Wandering into and out of rhyme, the overlong text combines general admonitions to reduce, reuse and recycle with sentiments like, “Just like Mom likes a clean house, and we wish for a tidy room, / Mother Earth prefers a wholesome place, so all creatures can fully bloom.” The color photos mix generic landscape shots with closer views of flowers, leaves, fuzzy ducklings and other wildlife in idyllic grassy settings, and (despite the title) at least four children who on some screens will giggle or comment when tapped. Along with such touch-activated animations as a supine polar bear that awkwardly waves its limbs when “tickled” and a trio of bear cubs sliding up and down a tree trunk, there are a few interactive opportunities. Several scenes can be either reset to black and white and recolored by scribbling with a fingertip or converted into jumbled segments that, despite spoken instructions, are highly resistant to being properly reassembled. Soft music and chirpy birds provide sonic background for an optional, sweet-voiced narrator.
A worthy effort, though as relentlessly earnest as its 2009 print edition and more hampered than helped by the clumsiness of its digital additions. (iPad nonfiction app. 6-10)