In this "choose your own adventure" rhyming storybook, a day trip to Farmer Bill’s barnyard presents a wee, feathered problem: a missing chick.
The story begins with promise: Help solve the mystery and choose which way to go. Children enter the story by typing their names on the page, but the personalization falls flat in read-to-me mode, with "child" substituting in the narration for the printed name. At each of the 12 different locations on the farm, there is a modicum of animation, visual interest and sound effects to keep young readers engaged. Mice scurry, apples fall from trees and foxes lurk nearby, as readers investigate what became of the missing chick. The small feathered one pops up at different places on the farm, and there is a challenging game of "Concentration" at the farmer’s house, giving the story a bit of a shelf life. But... there are a few mysteries beyond the missing chick: Where are the navigation options for moving the story along or visiting favorite locations easily? How can regular barnyard animals on a non-magical farm talk to humans? The music is also a mystery: The soothing acoustic-guitar introduction is an awkward choice for what should be an exciting day trip to the farm. And the biggest mystery of all: Why force a rhyme? One of the first (and most often ignored) rules of writing stories for children is "If you can’t rhyme, don’t."
This nonstarter shortchanges both readers and the story’s potential by attempting this most difficult approach and falling awkwardly short. (iPad storybook app. 3-5)