A seamless blend of realistic graphics, high-resolution photography and well-chosen interactive features makes for an inviting introduction to bat behavior and types.
In each of the seven topical sections, Carson’s short overview commentary is supplemented by captions and touch-activated windows. These show, for instance, a map of major bat colonies with touch-activated sub-windows or what a human skeleton with bat wings would look like and how it would articulate. The screen-filling nighttime scenes are sometimes sequential; one series leads viewers in stages into the Bracken Bat Cave in Texas, for instance, to view a huge mound of guano. Hidden bats (always specific, identified types) on several screens can be “spotted” with a fingertip. The “Seeing with Sound” chapter features a “record” button that allows readers to see their own bat screeches in action, and the closing animation is a tilt-controlled bat’s-eye “flight” over a moonlit landscape. The on-screen slider that appears to signal that the next page has loaded may prompt too-quick digits to flick before the narrator is quite through, but its bottom-to-top action is pleasingly different from the usual site-swiping motion as well as suiting its aerial subject. Overall, navigation is smooth, and the special features enhance rather than distract from the presentation.
A winner: beautifully illustrated, nicely designed and solidly informative. (iPad informational app. 6-9)