Employing similar techniques as The Very Hungry Bear (2012), which features the same titular ursine, this story about a persistent flea offers flashes of humor and a neat lesson about scale.
Big, brown Bear must deal with an unwelcome companion, a freeloader named Flea, who is "about to bite, / but not because he's impolite." Using effective snippets of animation, broad sound effects and a neat technical trick of zooming in and out on the tiny Flea when he's tapped, the app is invitingly playful. The illustrations are comical and well-detailed, even if the animation, as in the previous app, feels a little erratic and bouncy. Sometimes the zooming feature requires a bit of work to activate. But Bear's expressions continue to be priceless, and the floating-objects-on-water effects when he lands in the sea are impressive. In fact, a bonus game at the end of the story allows players to build a boat and then sail it on that body of water, a variation on the igloo-building feature of the earlier title. While the app doesn't feel particularly new, the story wraps up nicely with Bear and bitty Flea becoming friends after a rescue.
What this app lacks in originality it makes up for in cuddly familiarity. Bear enchants, even wordlessly, and is coming into his own as an app star young readers will be happy to see again. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)