A teddy bear’s search for self leads to encounters with three real bears.
The interactive effects are more sophisticated than the writing here. Having been introduced by his young "caretaker," Layla, to the constellation “Ursus Major,” fierce Cutie Bear sets out in a hot air balloon—“to prove I had braveness like him.” Following several crash landings in different habitats and quick dismissals from a polar bear (Ursus maritimus), a black bear (Ursus americanus) and a brown bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), he floats home in despair: “Hopelessness was inside me.” But after comforting Layla during a scary thunderstorm, he decides that since “[b]raveness was in [his] body,” he can be his own species, Ursus cutimus. The optional narration is in a voice that manages to be both gravelly and squeaky at the same time. Even in silent mode, there are appropriate sound effects—notably Layla’s rapid “heartbeat,” which slows down if readers, as instructed, hug their tablets—and taps, rubs and tilts set off a range of changes in position, color and expression in the cartoon scenes.
Not quite ready for prime time, but with major revisions to the text, this could be an Appus cutimus. (iPad storybook app. 5-7)