In this reversal of the age-old tortoise-vs.-hare tale, a young hare competes against some formidable opponents.
A hare walks into a bar…actually, he vaults over one being held by meerkats stacked one atop the other. Such are the events of the animal decathlon. The hare (who is ridiculed by a chortling hyena for entering) participates in all 10 events. He’s up against a gorilla in the shot put, a kangaroo in the long jump, and a cheetah in a sprint race—all of whom handily beat him. At the end of the story, he’s a good sport, pronouncing that though he didn’t take first place in any of the events, he had a good time. Only then does he learn that he’s the top athlete of the competition, thus winning the decathlon. Along the way readers can tap the animals to set them in motion or prompt sound effects, though quite often there are no interactive elements to match descriptive text. Tapping the (adequately rhyming) text is the only way to prompt narration, and a handy frog icon allows easy navigation between pages. The technological and literary value of this app is only fair, but the story behind the narrative makes it medal worthy (if only a bronze).
Concepts like sportsmanship, perseverance, humility and knowing and accepting one’s own strengths and limitations are a gold mine of potential teaching moments. They also warm the heart. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)