JON FOX AND THE MONSTER OF THE POND by Carson Steil

JON FOX AND THE MONSTER OF THE POND

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 7
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another app not ready for prime time, featuring a perfunctory story tricked out in a sparse assortment of crudely designed animations and touch-activated effects.

Depicted in the bland cartoon illustrations as a fox wearing Harry Potter–style eyeglasses, Jon stops at a pond on the way to school with thoughts of taking a dip. Spotting a green “monster” (plainly modeled on the Creature from the Black Lagoon) asleep on the bottom, he chucks a rock at it. When the monster rises, weeping, Jon expresses remorse, whereupon it utters a platitude—“When you see someone new you should always think twice! / Looks alone can’t tell you who’s mean or nice”—then pulls off its head to reveal that it was his (apparently amphibious) mother all along in a full body costume. Though the auto page-turn option works so quickly that some readers may miss the interactive effects entirely, tapping a tiny berry or shell in each tableau causes one or more small animals to pop into view briefly, then vanish either behind something or, with a notably unrealistic splash, into the pond. Similarly, tears drip and fish swim by, but one slight arm movement is the monster’s only animation, and Jon Fox manages to walk, run, talk and throw that rock without moving any body part.

The author and software designer show glimmers of creativity, but their learning curves are clearly still on the upswing. (iPad storybook app. 5-7)


Screenshots

Pub Date: July 9th, 2011
Publisher: Taylor Steil
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2011