Automotively named Edsel McFarlan loves model cars and has a thrilling high-octane adventure when the toy of his dreams arrives in this visually zippy app that ultimately fails to kick into high gear on the interactive lane.
Edsel, a red-headed, blue-eyed boy, orders a life-sized model car in the mail. His room is filled with toy cars, auto posters, hubcaps and license plates. In the slickly illustrated pages of the app, based on a 2010 book, Edsel's delighted grins and body language lovingly capture the laser-focused obsession of a young boy in love with a hobby. When Edsel finishes his new model and takes it for a spin through town, the story amusingly follows Edsel through (seemingly harmless) trips through back yards, across an intersection and into a construction site. The intentionally simple and direct text ("The steering wheel turned the front tires") are a counterweight to the packed illustrations, which feature many background details, characters and life-like clutter. If only the app was as attention-oriented. The too-straightforward adaptation features narration and displays the names of objects on screen aloud, but that's about the extent of its interactivity. Such a motion-filled story could have benefited from a little animation or at least the inclusion of sound effects. (Pages that feature sound effects like "SNAP" or "KAR-EEK" spelled out in text cry out for aural accompaniment.)Edsel's story is entertaining, but as an app it doesn't quite rev the engine to the limit. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)