This tale about a space-traveling anteater aspires to educate kids about the environmental dangers of consumerism.
Vincent, an animated felt creature that moves much like the characters in old stop-motion shorts, is a “science-minded” anteater. His favorite food is Green Hairy Ants, and they are in short supply in his tropical forest. His friends suggest dancing under the Great Cosmic Anteater in the sky to get the ants to return, but Vincent isn’t buying anything but a scientific approach. (While the whole creation/evolution debate isn’t explicitly explored, an unmistakable theme of science vs. religion runs throughout the story.) When Vincent builds a rocket and embarks on a quest to find the Cosmic Anteater, a screen with nine planet icons appears, each offering a vignette and subsequent tip that are designed to appeal to kids’ ecological consciences. After making “green” suggestions on each planet, Vincent finally reaches a place of enlightenment. There is no Great Cosmic Anteater. The illustrations are stunning and quite distinctive, but the overall interactive design may frustrate. The first page does not advance until all four interactions (signaled with twinkles) are found; both these and those that follow feel arbitrary, but at least subsequent pages advance without forcing readers to find all embedded interactions.
This multilingual app offers appealing visuals and worthy subject matter, but its disjointed, oft-times heavy-handed approach keeps it from soaring. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)