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SHOOSH by Florian F.  Weyh


by Florian F. Weyh & illustrated by Marie Geissler & developed by Ridili

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: April 20th, 2011
Publisher: Ridili

Rough illustrations, a not-quite-there translation and characters who come across as remarkably troubled for a children's app make this story seem like a good argument for keeping quiet.

One morning, bushy-haired Anton climbs into his parents' bed holding a squeak-toy rubber duck (called a "bird" throughout the story). He's quieted down immediately, and thus begins a day that seems miserable from the outside; everything that Anton does, from slurping hot soup to shuffling his feet at the museum, is discouraged by his persistently nagging father. Dad, who may be in over his head, is covering for Mom's headache and entertaining young Anton for the day. In the end, Anton and Dad end up under a bridge, banging instruments as loudly as they can, a brief respite in an otherwise grim drama about stamping out a child's every whim. Perhaps it's not meant to be that bleak, but the app's off-kilter hand-drawn look, the use of guillemets (»Don't slurp!« scolds his father) instead of quotation marks and sour adult characters make it a chore, despite some nice illustrations and competent narration. "It's weekend now and we can all rest nicely," Dad says in one typically awkward exchange. The App Store description, which describes a series of "Ridi-Apps," confirms the language issue with proclamations like, "So this Ridi allow your child to tune into a foreign language and learn it" and "Ridis can help a child to bridge waiting times." Those sentences read the way the app feels; like being stuck in a place you can't quite figure out.

Anton's adventure in aural admonition isn't too pleasurable; by the time he gets to make a real racket, the story's already become a jumbled, uncomfortable slog. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)