A message-driven trip to the African savanna, informative but marred by both literary and technical issues.
Published in a print edition in 2011 but offered here with different (uncredited) illustrations, the tale features a purple-skinned lad who is transported to Kenya by magic bubbles. There, he receives a fact-filled lecture from a friendly four-legged tour guide introducing herself as “Gigi, the reticulated giraffe.” After efforts to get closer to the animals he encounters lead to misadventures (“I almost lost my blue butt on that rhino’s loooong sharpened horn”), Jadyn also learns the value of respect and hands-off observation. Along with a menagerie of easily recognizable African animals floating over grassy backgrounds, the cartoon illustrations feature such touch-activated effects as kaleidoscopic spinners, falling stars and black-and-white areas that can be colored with digital crayons. Movements seldom look natural, however, and page-turn swipes are often slow or unresponsive. Also, along with the odd malapropism (“I ran, followed by Gigi’s frightened eyes”; “Smoke was shooting from her nostrils”) and an excessive! use! of exclamation marks!!!! the narrative confusingly ends with “To be continued…” on an otherwise blank screen, even though the episode could stand alone.
Well-intentioned and delivered with enthusiasm, if not quite up to professional standards in writing or design. (iPad storybook app. 6-8)