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PORKCHOP & MOUSE by Fiona Roberton


by Fiona Roberton & illustrated by Fiona Roberton & developed by Ant Hive Games

Age Range: 2 - 8

Pub Date: Jan. 18th, 2012
Publisher: Ant Hive Games

More Hello Kitty than Peter Rabbit, this very modern app with minimalist illustrations and clever jokes tucked throughout is a cute, if lightweight, cat-and-mouse story.

Porkchop, a perfectly white cat with a small circle for a body and larger circle for a head (with triangle ears, of course), lives in a house with red wallpaper, doors and hanging lights. He also lives with an infestation of mice: fat, oval mice who've been "nibbling on his doughnuts." Porkchop pursues one mouse out of the house, across a field of spinning flowers, through an autumnal forest, over icy mountains and a desert and through a neon-lit city, among other places. There are visual jokes throughout, like Easter Island statues on one page or a beach book called Great Catsby, but many of them are too subtle, or displayed in such small text that they'll be lost on younger readers. The animation isn't jaw-dropping—it's only used in small portions on each page—but it's effective. Mice eating, birds flying and a giant blue moon spinning are activated with button presses or by flicking a finger. The built-in narration's British-accented take on the material is bright and friendly. An option to record one's own narration is also nicely done; a simple microphone icon appears on each page. Porkchop's chase leads back to the house, where the mice have made a peace offering: a huge pile of donuts to share.

It's a simple story that emphasizes fun over substance, but the visuals are so crisp and adorable that they'll appeal to readers who are looking for less-traditional art styles in their storybooks. (iPad storybook app. 2-8)