Two children have trouble staying in bed until their Mooshum, their grandfather, tells them a Coast Salish cautionary tale featuring a “scary old woman who eats the toes of children as if they were grapes!”
Dropped off by their dad at the mountain cabin of Mooshum and Kookum, Thomas and his little sister Lily have trouble settling down that night—until they hear how, long ago, a group of similarly sleepless children followed the delicious scent of candied salmon into the woods and were seized by the terrifying Kalkalilh. Both the children, who look like polished wooden dolls with black, button eyes, and the skulls that float about the hunched-over old woman’s cluttered hut wriggle and giggle when touched in the tilt-sensitive illustrations. The overall flow isn’t as smooth as it might be, as each picture takes a moment to load and the text only appears a few lines at a time. Still, options include autoplay or manual advance, a multivoiced audio and a choice of four languages, including Squamish. Furthermore, a main menu with thumbnails is available any time, and tapping the occasional red word in the narrative opens a box with the Squamish equivalent and a culture-specific comment or observation. Ultimately, the children in the core tale push their captor into her own fire, whereupon she turns into a cloud of mosquitoes and pursues them through the woods into the arms of their parents. In the framing story, Thomas and Lily rise in the morning to find real candied salmon and opposite-of-scary Kookum waiting in the cozy kitchen.
Not too spooky for bedtime yet with distinct chiller-diller potential, this folk tale marries tradition and modernity with great style. (iPad folk-tale app. 6-9)