Two animal friends explore the recently renovated grand Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Digging a tunnel, Mole accidentally discovers a beautiful building and brings his friend Monkey to explore the treasures inside. A chase ensues when a guard spots them and angrily shouts, “The museum is closed. And animals aren’t allowed in here!” As the two friends flee, they bump into an ornate 17th-century Delft vase, are helped by the little angel statue called Amor and otherwise encounter more precious works of art. Options include audio narration in English, Dutch, French and German, a choice of visible or invisible text, and automatic or manual page turns. Interactive features are minimal but suitable for young children. This storybook app works better as a charming story than an introduction to the recently renovated Rijksmuseum, though. While the colophon at the end provides young readers with information about each of the famous works of art, the emphasis is on the animal friends’ adventure. Spee’s illustrations capture the essence of the artwork but are impressions rather than realistic renditions, unlike Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day, by Amy de la Haye, illustrated by Emily Sutton and developed by MAPP Editions (2012), which captures readers’ interest with striking photographs of the artwork in the backmatter.
It’s a pleasant-enough story, but it’s not quite effective as a way to draw young readers into a museum experience. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)