The newest of the alliterative Frubeez apps introduces hat-happy Hannah, a googly-eyed lass with a taste for rib-tickling toppers.
Using a mix of photos and flat, silkscreen-style graphics, Callander creates a two-toned orange child with oversized eyes and a giant button in the middle of her tummy. Hannah models 18 types of headgear that range widely. A tartan tam has its own pair of eyes, and a sugary cupcake disappears bite by bite. There are bursts of flowers, twinkling halogen lights and a boom box broadcasting a funky beat, as well as a lollipop-chomping monster and a melting blob of goo. In a clever literacy-building feature, the lively audio narration doesn’t run automatically but is activated only by tapping the big, bright rhymed text on each screen. Tapping Hannah herself brings up a snatch of music or other sound effect, a bit of animation and a comment or giggle. Though the verse seems a bit forced at times—“She had hundreds of hats all stylishly fab. / She even had a hat for her pet hermit crab!”—its vigorous rhythms are a match for the art’s visual energy and the unusually quick, engagingly varied interactive effects. Hannah ultimately solves her storage issue by opening a boutique, and she joins her cheering stock to utter a “See you again soon” that’s likely to be as much an accurate prediction as a polite wish.
Another tip-top turn from the creator of Treetop Ted (2011). (iPad storybook app. 2-5)