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ARCHIE AND THE MYSTERIOUS SPHERE by Johan Veldeman

ARCHIE AND THE MYSTERIOUS SPHERE

From the Antletics series, volume 1

By Johan Veldeman (Author) , Maarten Albrechts (Illustrator) , Alfabetweter (Developer)

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Dec. 24th, 2010
Publisher: Alfabetweter

Ant rides golf ball in this forgettable Belgian import.

Seeing a mysterious white sphere fly past and land in “Fair-a-Way,” Archie the ant sets out to take a closer look. No sooner does he climb atop the sphere than along comes a “Big Foot” to whack it into the air. Small automatic animations join a scattering of touch-activated sound effects or color changes in each cartoon scene. Touching highlighted words in the text opens small windows that offer either definitions or random cultural factoids—a mention of Archie’s “four hands” brings up a note about the Fab Four, for instance, and for “moonstone” a reference to Neil Armstrong. The narrator’s British-accented voice can be paused or turned off. Labored verses (“Was this a meteor or a falling star / Or perhaps a spaceship not yet ajar…”) are paired with extreme close-up views of a buggy, anxious-looking four-armed lad in shorts and T-shirt. This episode, being only the first of a planned eight, cuts off abruptly after only 11 screens, leaving Archie in mid-air. It’s unclear either when subsequent episodes will be available, or whether they will be sold separately or offered as free updates.

Skimpy and unpromising, with nowhere to go but up. (iPad storybook app. 7-9)