From Down Under, a deliciously alliterative barrage of sounds and silly pests.
First of a planned alphabet of mini-tales dubbed “frubeez,” this introduces a spiky green chap with big googly eyes whose efforts to sit down to tea are delayed by sightings of an aptly named Ticky Tick, a chattering Tuttlezest (“being a pest!”), Tittletants in dirty pants (with ants) and several like annoyances. Silkscreened in bright, solid primary colors, the grimacing figures all resemble attractively ugly sock toys, and each features a distinct, often amusingly alimentary gurgle or other touch-activated sound. Ted can likewise be tapped any time to elicit a roll of the eyes and a brief comment. Constructed in a simple repeating question-and-answer pattern with a running refrain of “itchy, twitchy, scritchy, scratchy!” the short text appears as a word or three per line on each screen. In a clever version of a “read it yourself” option, it is not read aloud by its cheery Aussie narrator unless tapped each time, making the connection between sound and text crystal clear for children and laying the foundations for literacy. The pages load almost instantaneously, and though there is no shortcut back to the beginning, arrows on each screen lead forward or backward. A collective chorus of creature noises plus a snatch of lively music brings this crowd pleaser to a strong close.
High marks for looks, sounds and overall design. Totally terrific for toddlers. (iPad storybook app. 2-5)