The adventure of a lost, rare red panda cub trying to find his way home is expertly packed with Indian culture, energetic artwork and engaging characters.
Laloo, who looks more like a fox than a traditional, burly, black-and-white panda, loves bugs, to the puzzlement of those around him. One day, a poacher traps and takes Laloo, but the cub is able to escape. From there, Laloo tries to get back to his family and is aided by a famous dog actor named Scrilla and his friends. The journey is made entertaining by its settings: Laloo crashes the set of a Bollywood movie, runs through a market where the vendors are "selling silk scarves and spicy eggs in sizzling pans," and travels home on a decorated purple train. He also collects bugs he finds along the way; readers tap the bugs to add them to a collection. The text could be cleaner in terms of punctuation and grammar, but the story itself is fun, the narration is sprightly and Laloo's persistent worry that he doesn't fit in is certainly universal. But it's the presentation of life in India that makes the app most worthy of recommendation. The clean, beautifully colored artwork is vibrant and inviting. Laloo's world has lots of characters, perhaps too many for one story. Some barely get a page or two, leaving room for further tales of Laloo and his friends.
It's likely young readers who pick up this well-made app will be learning about both Bollywood and red pandas for the first time—and they will be glad they did. (iPad storybook app. 3-8)