When Mousey Howsee ventures out for a day at the lake, she needs an entire rescue team—including readers—to bring her back home alive.
Based on Lithuanian author Sakalauskaite’s book Funny Stories by Mousey Howsee, this digital storybook incorporates a wealth of technology, interaction and animation. Using a location-based service, the software tracks readers' coordinates, changing the time of day or weather in the story to reflect what’s happening where readers are. If you’re reading in the morning, the story begins with Mousey Howsee eating breakfast; if you’re reading at night, Mousey will go to sleep. Tiny, tappable stars indicate where the action is, giving the secondary characters lives of their own. At one point, young readers are given the opportunity to help Mousey call for rescue, teaching the concept of 911. Dial the incorrect number, and you might get a dinner invitation, but not the help you need. Video loops occasionally animate the story—apart from the text—on a visual level that propels it forward. All of these features, as well as a three-level memory game for extra fun—extend the shelf life of the Mousey’s adventure. Unfortunately, the story itself needs to be rescued, its verbosity made even less appealing by the narrator’s awkward cadence and clunky interpretive skills. Mousey’s reading voice doesn’t seem to match the character’s sound effects, and at times, the visual doesn’t match what’s on the page.
Overall, though whimsically illustrated and digitally deluxe, the tale would’ve benefited from a story overhaul before leaving the dock. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)