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adapted by Charles Kriel, illustrated by Charles Kriel

Age Range: 1 - 3

Pub Date: April 27th, 2011
Publisher: Charles Kriel

A jumble of pastel pieces fails to transport or delight in this collection, seemingly created more for design-conscious app enthusiasts than child readers.

Combining 12 Mother Goose rhymes into one iPad page is a bit of a challenge, but Kriel has done it by turning each bite-sized morsel into a button on the border of what appears to be a picture frame. Press on the button with the picture of a gawky lamb, and "Mary Had a Little Lamb" appears as a single-page illustrated piece. In some of the rhymes, words rotate, or objects fall or can be manipulated. The text can be read aloud by pressing a separate button with a picture of a parrot. The rhymes sometimes take longer to appear than they should, which might cause younger readers to keep pressing or to think that something's wrong. More than one rhyme is incomplete, leaving off concluding lines, and, mystifyingly, "Ride a Cock Horse" omits the beginning. And though the illustrations and design, meant to evoke cut-outs, bygone cherub-cheeked characters and DIY crafts are striking, there's something about the washed-out colors and lack of page turning that leave the reader cold. The app feels like a design experiment for the wrong audience, though it's technically well made, with expert voice work and well-implemented background music and effects.

It's a noble try that doesn't give much new life to the familiar source material. (iPad nursery-rhyme app. 1-3)