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RILEY AND THE MAGICAL LAUNDRY BASKET by Chris Danielson

RILEY AND THE MAGICAL LAUNDRY BASKET

By Chris Danielson (Author) , Nic Danielson (Author) , Nina Rouselle De Polonia (Illustrator) , Monkey Prism (Developer)

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 2011
Publisher: Monkey Prism

Plump with clever visuals but never really reaching great heights in any other areas, this trip to a fantasy land isn't as magical as the title suggests.

Baby Riley sits in a wicker basket imagining a faraway cupcake palace and the strange inhabitants of a lush, surreal world, while Mommy cleans house. The story begins in the home, but even here, there's elements of whimsy. The washing machine churns and blows bubbles. A sock monkey announces, "I am a sock monkey, oo-oo-ah!" when touched. Far less endearing is the way Riley, essentially a pre-verbal toddler, is portrayed in the narration by an adult speaking in a little-kid voice. Third-person would have been a far better choice for this story. The cupcake land itself is gorgeously rendered, with exquisite character design and surprising sound and voice effects that play differently with multiple screen touches. Sometimes these characters burst into short songs as Riley flies in her enchanted wicker basket. Grooving dinosaurs don't just look funny in their friendly pastel skin tones, they also wear cute hats and have bow ties. In an app that feels a little short and has unremarkable text that features forced rhythm and rhyme ("Look at the animals and look, a fairy! / Dancing in her ring, so happy and merry!"), it's the illustrations and their audio accompaniment that remain memorable.

Riley's story isn't too bewitching, but the colorful characters along the way are worth a look. (iPad storybook app. 3-6)