This chapter book for independent readers features talking animals in a lightweight gumshoe mystery.
Fox is having a tough time; he’s buried in work at the movie studio he took over when his cousin mysteriously disappeared in the jungle. He’s less than enthusiastic when the famous actress Lulu the Doe beseeches him to find her missing jewels, but he agrees to help, and the plot thickens when it appears that a mummy is haunting the studio. The story’s attempt to provide a hardboiled-detective mystery for the younger crowd mostly succeeds, with solid noir elements like snappy dialogue, tongue-in-cheek humor, a hint of romance, red herrings and suspicious characters. The writing style is average at best and awkward at worst, perhaps resulting from translation or editing issues. The ending deteriorates into a nonsensical Keystone Cops–type chase, wherein Fox and his crew end up trapped in a locked room with “to be continued” flashing across the scene. There are some interesting effects, including a page where objects in a room need to be moved back to their correct place, ink spots that disappear when touched and a video clue that plays on a television monitor. There is no narration offered, so this app is for independent readers or a one-on-one shared reading experience.
Here’s hoping the creators will employ a better translator and editor for the sequels. (iPad storybook app. 7-10)