A mismatch of adaptation style to source, this cartoon version of Lear's nonsense poem about lost love on a beach fails to live up to the wildly inventive wordplay of the text.
In the story, which was first published in 1877, the Yonghy-Bonghy Bò is a man living on the Coast of Coromandel in love with the Lady Jingly Jones. He asks her to be his wife in this exquisite bit of rhythmic writing: " 'I am tired of living singly, / On this coast so wild and shingly, / I'm a-weary of my life: / If you'll come and be my wife, / Quite serene would be my life!' / Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò, / Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò." With its made-up words, silly imagery ("Where the early pumpkins blow") and delicious repetition, the text holds up remarkably well, and its melancholy ending is unexpected and poignant. Unfortunately, it's been paired with generic artwork, the kind where cutesy animated animals seem drawn only to scuttle around and make noises when touched. It turns out to be a disappointingly literal take on Lear's material. At least the design is consistent with its outdoor theme, framing the text and illustrations with vines and leaves. The app offers a brief biography of Lear, a set of questions and discussion topics for parents reading with their kids, and easy navigation.
For some readers, the shortcomings won't matter. Lear's writing is still a delight, and whatever vehicle it arrives in doesn't diminish the strength of it much at all. (iPad storybook app. 2-10)