The inner workings of the wish-fulfillment business are exposed in this imaginative romp, which features lush fantasy art in the service of a fairly conventional coming-of-age story.
Best Wishes is the company that collects wished-upon fountain coins, blown-out birthday candles and wishbones, granting the wishes of those who've pinned their hopes on these objects. But Jacob, the tiny, sad-looking genie who's the son of the company's director, has no talent for granting such wishes. The story of how he uses ingenuity and invention instead of magic to make a child's wish come true is enhanced most by beautifully gloomy art that wouldn't look out of place in a Tim Burton animated feature. The clever animation and the interactive elements (throwing coins into a fountain with the flick of a finger or a neat set of mirrors that refract light and create a playable drum set) are entertaining. The story itself is full of great surprises (a "Shooting Star Service" for wish delivery) and fascinating peripheral characters who, sadly, get little more than a single page to shine. The nice thing about a story overstuffed with entertaining bits it doesn't fully explore is the possibility that more stories will spring from this universe in the future.Let's hope that's the case with the Best Wishes setting. The app's character design, expert construction and even the precise use of text in just the right spots on each page will leave readers wanting even more. (iPad storybook app. 4-10)