Visually arresting aliens and planetary vistas make this app worth a visit, but plodding text and uninspired narration make the trip less awe-inspiring that it could have been.
A planet-hopping spaceman offers readers a ride across the galaxy to see the "big gaseous planet Jeffrey," the oceanic 4CC420 and several other wondrous worlds. Judicious use of animation brings the many aliens to wiggling, active life. Slithery green creatures with seven eyes on stalks frolic alongside mops of fur with tiny antlers. The design of the aliens and their home planets—even familiar ones like Mars and Jupiter's moon Europa—are so imaginative readers could easily skip the tiny text that runs (and runs and runs) on each page. The text is not poorly written and contains interesting details and insights ("Perhaps even terrestrial life was born outside planet Earth. Some believe it was born in the water on comets"), but it's very lengthy, essentially a tedious information dump. The stale, matter-of-fact narration doesn't help. It may be that all that text is meant to keep readers lingering longer on each page for the clever, exquisite visuals. Extras include some lovely jigsaw puzzles and a serviceable coloring interface, as well as the option of experiencing the alien ride in the publisher's native Italian.
It's a strikingly beautiful and strange package; though wordy, it's still a worthwhile trip. (iPad storybook app. 4-10)