A crash-landed ship of alien mutants is a convenient-enough framing device to teach kids with strong stomachs about the alphabet in this nicely drawn abecedary.
The aliens (did they really need to be mutants, too?) arrive on Earth, and it turns out that, "Luckily, they were all shaped like the letters in our alphabet." (Readers of Arabic, Cyrillic, Greek or any other the other non-Roman alphabets need not apply.) The brief set-up is followed by 26 pages of bulgy, bug-eyed, grinning and entirely silly aliens. "A" is for "Alien," of course, but there's also the more obscure "K" for "Kraken" and one-eyed "Q" for "Quake." ("X" is for "X-rays"—ho-hum.) Each profile page prominently features the letter in lower- and upper-case with an option to have the word read aloud. There's also a small envelope on each page; tapping on it reveals a secondary word that's less monster-focused and often more clearly associated with the letter. "C" may be for "Cyclops," but "Cake" is even better. Most amusing is the high-pitched, enthusiastic voice work. "Lizard" is accompanied by a subtle but effective clicking of the tongue, and "Panic" is appropriately panicky. A final page shows all the aliens together as the alphabet. Unfortunately, there's not much more to the app. It's a good, non-traditional primer, and the aliens couldn't be more cute/disgusting for the kinds of kids who prefer slime over fairy dust.There are dozens of features that could have been piled on to such a rich idea, but the app keeps things simple and focused. Who needs sideshows when the mutants are front and center? (iPad alphabet book. 3-7)