Interaction is very minimal, illustrations are featureless, and navigation is clunky, but there’s one distinct element that makes this retelling of the Norwegian folk tale worth the price of admission.
It’s hardly necessary to recount the story’s elements, as they’re widely known. But for the uninitiated: A troll threatens three billy goats and ends up mortally thwarted. Narration plugs along at a (very) measured pace, but just when readers might be tempted to catch some shut-eye, a little jingle (accompanied by groovy finger snaps) pops up unexpectedly to aid the goat in crossing the bridge: “Trip, Trap Trippity Trap / A Trip Trap Trippity Trap Uh, Uh, Uh.” It’s catchy to a fault. On the next page, the troll breaks into a full-blown rap, complete with a drum loop and turntable drags. Each time a goat crosses the bridge both ditties are repeated, and they’re infused with so much gusto and silliness they lift the app out of mediocrity. It’s unfortunate that in “read myself” mode there are no sound effects, as they could have helped kids hone their rhythm and syncopation skills. The most glaring oversight, however, is that there’s no way to start the story over or navigate through pages without either going forward or backward through every screen or rebooting the app.
This goes to show that a little creativity and funkiness go a long way. Rock on. (iPad storybook app 3-5)