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A PRESENT FOR MILO by Mike Austin Kirkus Star


by Mike Austin & illustrated by Mike Austin & developed by Ruckus Mobile Media

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Dec. 8th, 2010
Publisher: Ruckus Mobile Media

Like a Next Gen version of a lift-the-flap Spot story, this digital cat-and-mouse chase features very simple art, familiar settings and hidden surprises in every scene. Milo, a blue cat, chases a giggling mouse through a living room, across a piano, up and down stairs, through the kitchen and a playroom tunnel to a waiting surprise. As he chases, viewers can touch furniture, knickknacks and other parts of the backgrounds to activate a variety of sound effects and small movements. In many cases, different effects are activated with successive touches to the same area. The full-screen scenes are animated at a deliberate pace just right for very young viewers. Each swipe moves the setting to new, empty room through which the characters bound energetically after a moment, then freeze into tableaus as a line or phrase of text appears word by word and a male narrator provides a lively reading. Because the smaller special effects on each page can only be activated one at a time and tend to stop the plot in its tracks, they are best reserved for successive readingsā€¦of which there will be plenty, thanks to the unusual range of interactive features and child-friendly art and design. In a likely portent of things to come, the app actually precedes a print edition, due out later this year. Here's hoping the paper romp is as engaging as the digital one. (iPad storybook app. 3-6)