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THE VERY HUNGRY BEAR by Nick Bland

THE VERY HUNGRY BEAR

By Nick Bland (Author) , Nick Bland (Illustrator) , Wheelbarrow (Developer)

Age Range: 2 - 7

Pub Date: June 15th, 2012
Publisher: Wheelbarrow

Two bears from very different places meet and bond over their love of fish in a pleasant-enough app that has a few clever touches.

Big, brown, hungry Bear snags his fishing rod on a small iceberg with a polar bear standing on top of it. Polar Bear comes bearing armfuls of fish, and that's enough to win Bear's affection. "Now a fish to a bear / Is like a chocolate éclair, / It's INCREDIBLY hard to resist. // So the thought of a pile / That would last for a while / Was an offer too good to be missed!" But Polar Bear's stay in the forest doesn't last long, and soon the pair is seeking a cooler, snowier home. While the story doesn't win many points for originality or interesting twists, it's beautifully illustrated throughout. The bears’ fur is lovingly detailed and textured, and the movements of the characters work well with the rest of the app's expert animation. The rhyming text is well-paced and charming; it's read jauntily by Australian actor Angus Sampson. And while the interactive elements aren't mind-blowing—some character movements and a game that challenges readers to find fish hidden within the story—there are a few moments of innovation: The app's title page shows the two bears facing each other as their eyes follow the places where the screen is tapped, for instance.

It's an entertaining read that misses greatness...but just bearly. (iPad storybook app. 2-7)