A lad discovers an abandoned jungle city in this well-designed first chapter of an original tale.
Young Mika wanders away from his scientist grandma, finds a directional sign covered in “whimsical symbols,” fends off a giant snake and blithely carries away a small golden statue from a ruin. To go along with quiet New Age background music and low-volume sound effects, the verdant junglescapes in each atmospheric scene feature strange-looking flora and fauna, plus as well as eyes and eldritch lights that brighten or dim with a tap. Simple but smooth animations include an opening sequence, page “turns” and small flowers that bloom when touched. A touch will also blow the blocks of very small text up to a more legible size. Icons at the bottom of each screen point forward and back, allowing the voiced narration and music to be (independently) switched on or off; they also lead to a jigsaw puzzle and a concentration game. The translated text features some malapropisms and offbeat lines—“ ‘We will have to jump to make it across there,’ he thinks with a foreboding in the back of his mind”—and though the App Store description promises four languages, the app offers only English.
An exciting jaunt, imbued with a sense of mystery—but readers curious about what happens next or the significance of what Mika finds will have to wait for future episodes to find out. (iPad storybook app. 7-9)