An unusual, ethereal app uses its slow pace, musical accompaniment and oil-painted illustrations to create a mood that transcends its sometimes-plodding storytelling.
A young boy whose name is never revealed discovers a baby girl floating on a shell by the shore. He picks her up and tries to wake her, but nothing happens. He decides to take the baby to a group of creatures called the Oomorels, who are wise and have magical powers. The seven Oomorels—of all shapes, colors and kinds of fur—take turns trying to determine what the baby may need, from food to drink to shelter. What finally awakens the child is love, in the form of a kiss from the young boy, but until that point the story teases the outcome for a disturbingly long time, creating anxiety that the baby may not be alive. "But her eyes were closed, like she was sleeping," the text reads early in the story, and the baby stays that way for nearly 30 pages. The app's moody illustrations, piano soundtrack and apparently sad main character make for a touching experience. But that spell is nearly broken by a repetitious middle section that's only bearable because of lovely animation and challenging interactions. If it's meant to be a fable, it's one with a very simple message: that a child needs love to awaken and grow.
Luckily, this app was built with plenty of love and care; it may not be a perfectly constructed story, but there are little moments of grace within. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)