CHICO TO THE RESCUE: FRIENDSHIP by Manuela Pentangelo

CHICO TO THE RESCUE: FRIENDSHIP

Age Range: 2 - 7
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Available on the App Store

KIRKUS REVIEW

Chico has a bad encounter at the beach when a small crab pinches his toe. He catches the crab and takes it home, but soon learns a lesson. A mermaid he just befriended (it was a very eventful day) has been tied up by a set of angry crabs. The tense hostage drama is undermined by cute, pastel-colored illustrations and the top-heavy crabs, who dance and click hilariously. Most pages have some interactive element, such as Chico’s color-changing swim trunks or suction-cup arrows Chico can fire at the enemy crabs. Each page features an icon of Chico’s face and a microphone allowing readers to add their own narration to the story. Sounds, narration, the microphone icons and autoplay can all be disabled in the options, but, confusingly, the options have to be highlighted black instead of white to be activated. Chico, with his big smile and rescue mission, is a charmer, but his misadventure with the temperamental beach crabs doesn’t really go anywhere. Chico is taught not to hurt or capture creatures of the sea, but it’s not clear that the “Friendship” of the title was ever achieved. Perhaps it should have been called, “Chico the Rescue: Détente”? (iPad storybook app. 2-7)

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