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BARTLEBY'S BOOK OF BUTTONS by Henrik Van Ryzin Kirkus Star


by Henrik Van Ryzin & Denise Van Ryzin & developed by Monster Costume

Age Range: 4 - 10

Bartleby is a lover of buttons, switches, knobs and dials, and the first volume of his iPad adventures details his trip to Mystery Island. Less a straight-ahead storybook than a combination of story and interactive puzzles, each page includes lighted buttons to press, keys and cranks to fiddle with. The not-terribly-difficult brain teasers that employ these tools are used to advance the story and unlock each new page. There’s no voiced narration but plenty of sound effects. Bartleby’s world is as retro as the bowler-hat-wearing hero; his gadgets are more mechanical than digital and his quaint surroundings wouldn’t look out of place in a cartoon from the 1940s (perhaps he’s related to Georges Rémi’s Tintin; he bears a resemblance). For children who’d rather tinker than be read to, Bartleby may be the perfect companion. At eight story pages, his first outing seems like a voyage cut short, but it’s a memorable one. It’s remarkably different in look, tone and structure from most story apps, a true original in an App Store filled with cartoon tie-ins, princess programming and retrofitted children’s classics. (iPad storybook/puzzle app. 4-10)