A trip down an Amazonian river is sunk by forced and awkward rhyming text.
Roberto takes a river trip in the Amazon rainforest hoping to spot Mother Nature. Along the way, he meets up with some fascinating creatures but never quite spots her. In the end, he finally realizes that he did find Mother Nature because “she is in everything, and she is everywhere.” The art is pedestrian, although the animation introduces some interesting perspectives. There are some good interactive effects, such as the ability to move a firefly lantern around a page to light up areas of the screen. The app is narrated in English, Spanish or Portuguese. The addition of a map for self-direction is a nice touch, although it is missing a way to navigate to the beginning of the story. The text includes some interesting tidbits, but the rhyme and rhythm make the story hard to listen to and nearly impossible to read aloud: “Look all around, and smile off that frown. / Alligators look mean but you don’t need to scream, / ’cause the light really makes them calm down.” Moreover, there are no sources or notes to indicate whether any of the assertions in the story are factual or not.
Just telling the story in simple prose is the only upgrade that could save this app. (iPad storybook app. 3-8)