A plump and (generally) cheery frog models sneezes and sighs, giggles, slumps, growls and other common bodily signals.
In bright, heavily brushed painted illustrations, bright-green Veronica Sue poses in comfy dress along with other family members in a variety of simply rendered indoor and outdoor settings. These paintings deftly incorporate select but well-placed small animations, sound effects and touch-activated balls, flies or other items. Two to four lines of rhymed comment on each manually advanced screen provide explanatory glosses for her sounds, expressions or gestures—“Her tummy says ‘GRRRRR’ when it’s ready to eat. / Her tastebuds say ‘YUM’ when they find something sweet.” Uncertain new readers can get a chirpy audio reading of that page alone by tapping a speaker icon in the corner. A house icon in another corner opens a strip of relatively large thumbnail images for quick backing and forthing. The app isn’t immune to crashes, and the text could use copy editing—Veronica Sue “let’s [sic] out a GASP” at one point, and “tastebuds” is usually two words. Moreover, children with a cognitive disability may have trouble picking up Veronica Sue’s relatively understated cues. Nevertheless, this introduction to nonverbal language is likely to spark both better self-awareness and further discussion.Not yet an app to greet with open arms, but certainly worth more than a shrug. (iPad storybook app. 5-7)