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ELMER'S SPECIAL DAY by David McKee Kirkus Star


From the Elmer the Elephant series

by David McKee & illustrated by David McKee & developed by Oceanhouse Media

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: May 9th, 2011
Publisher: Oceanhouse Media

The patchwork pachyderm again finds a way to wage peace.

Featuring appropriate audio effects, this digital version of the 2009 episode starts off with a noise issue when the elephants duding themselves up for Elmer’s special parade get a little overexcited. “That’s a bit of a racket your chaps are making!” complains Lion, echoed by a number of irritated animals. Elmer ultimately orchestrates amity by inviting everyone to join the elephants in decorating themselves in colorful patterns or splashes of color and marching in the grand promenade. (Elmer himself covers his patchwork with elephant-colored berry juice.) Per Oceanhouse Media’s usual style, there are no animations in the bright cartoon-style illustrations, but an artful use of shifts and close-ups compensates nicely for the lack. Along with a “no-hands” automated mode, the tale can be read on manual advance either silently or by a lively British narrator with running highlighted words. Not only will touching any word in the manual modes activate a pronunciation, tapping any of the animals, plants or even the sky brings an identifying label into temporary view. Better yet, those labels are pronounced, which allows children with busy fingers to create a cacophony of their own to go along with the rising tide of animal noises accompanying a final exuberant rumpus.

This winner combines feasible problem solving, bug-free special effects, plenty of eye candy—particularly toward the end, when all the wildly decorated wild things are cavorting about—and easy navigation. (iPad storybook app. 3-6)