A firefly finally gets the hang of glowing by thinking of “his favorite thing to do in the world”—flying.
Steering well clear of biological accuracy (fireflies flash to attract mates), Bucheit introduces Nigel Duncan Gordon—depicted as a popeyed insect with a bright red head—who just can’t get the glow going. Finally, a wise old frog’s instruction to “think of the one thing that makes you happiest of all” leads him to figuratively and literally see the light. Both story and prose are amateurish (illogically, having learned to “believe in himself,” Nigel “join[s] the stars, the luminescent luminaries of the sky”). Becker renders flora and fauna with reasonable precision in the watercolor wetland scenes, but the text is printed in a cramped sans serif on crudely whited-out strips. The digital design is equally primitive, as taps will induce a few jerky movements or set glowing dots adrift, but there is no page index, nor any language available other than English despite claims to the contrary in the App Store ad copy. Furthermore, selecting the “Read” rather than “Listen” option at the beginning cuts off not only the bland audio narration, but the background music too. Interactive features notwithstanding, this doesn’t hold a candle to Eric Drachman and James Muscarello’s identically themed Leo the Lightning Bug (2001) or Eric Carle’s at least moderately franker The Very Lonely Firefly (1995).
Skip. (iPad storybook app. 6-8)