This collection of illustrated children’s songs is an interactive musical playground.
The Mibblio app itself is free and serves as a platform for individual songs available for purchase within the app ($1.99 each). Each story-song is called a “mibblet,” and it launches within an interface that features an illustrated, automated “book” that’s surrounded by interactive elements. As “On Top of Spaghetti” plays, for example, readers can single out instruments to add or subtract from the prerecorded arrangement, as well as make musical contributions of their own. All the while, the noninteractive pages scroll automatically (in silent mode, which can be selected on the home screen, the pages turn with the swipe of a finger). A brightly colored keyboard offers different options for improvisation or imitation, including a xylophone, an accordion and a violin. A panel to the right provides several rainbow-stringed instruments that readers can “strum” (swipe) along with each song, as well as percussive options. Some mibblets are old standards, like “Old MacDonald” and “The Wheels on the Bus,” while others are more obscure. The quality of each story varies. “Millie and Her Curling, Whirling Hair” for instance, has an interesting, well-told (sung?) storyline and features simple yet distinctive black-and-white illustrations. But “Superhero Vacation” and “Wibblesmacks” are awash in sloppy, shallow storytelling and graphics that look like they came out of middle school art class or somebody’s glorified clip-art library, respectively.
Still, it’s a great concept, and artistic flaws notwithstanding, a fun time. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)