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The Fair

From the Mr. Mouse series, volume 2

by Edward Cooper & Mirah Clarke & illustrated by Mirah Clarke

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Jan. 20th, 2013
Publisher: Edward Cooper

Another badly rhymed, navigationally cluttered “adventure” with Mr. Mouse.

The subpar writing and sloppy interactive elements aren’t the most troublesome things about the Mr. Mouse apps. It’s the unspoken message conveyed in both, namely that a person is worthy of friendship only when he or she can be of use to those they’re trying to befriend. In the first installment (The Adventures of Mr. Mouse, 2012), the titular rodent snubs Mo and Jo until he needs their help. In this follow-up, the three hide from Beanie (a dog) since they don’t want to play with him—that is, until he offers to be their transportation to the fair. Suddenly, they sprout consciences and warmly embrace him. Like the last story, this one is dreadfully rhymed, following neither meter nor any particular form. The backgrounds are a little more intricate than the first offering, many of them photographs upon which floating animations are layered. This time around, there are two versions of the story—for “older” and “younger” readers. The “older” version contains more text, but the age consideration seems haphazard (at least in terms of reading level), as the “younger” one often includes more complex words or phrases. The same clunky controls are strewn across the bottom of every screen, with narration prompts being necessary on every page.

A disappointing attempt at both storytelling and interactive camaraderie. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)