Several promising ideas gone wrong or buggy mar this digital version of a 1998 board book.
Paired to a pithy text explaining that best friends “share umbrellas,” “stick together” and sometimes even “dress alike,” simply drawn scenes in twee pastels depict a plush elephant and a calico kitty in five cozy domestic settings. Occasionally, a hyped-up squirrel zooms by on a toy car to crash or to knock popcorn into an unattended popper. An opening menu provides access to either a three-level “Concentration” game or a “Read My Book” option. Tapping a pink or blue button on the next screen selects a male or female narrator. Touch-activated effects on subsequent slow-to-load pages include a belching teddy bear, a butterfly that inexplicably buzzes like a bee, a hopping crutch that tends to get stuck in a feedback loop and, for a picture of the Little Beasties talking on their (landline) phones, a misguided set of voicemail and “failed call” recordings. Furthermore, some sounds spill over past a page turn, each screen features a “pause” button that actually opens an otherwise inaccessible thumbnail index and in “Read Myself” mode, the text on the first page vanishes after a moment. The background music channels Vince Guaraldi’s “Peanuts” soundtrack. Next to Sandra Boynton’s board-book apps, this diaper needs changing. (iPad toddler app. 6 mos.-18 mos.)