Crude drawings and simple interactions don't hold this guided tour of a modern home, but its soundtrack may.
A large chicken stands in front of a white picket fence, beckoning readers to touch a doorknob (yes, a doorknob on a fence) to enter. From there, things only get stranger. As readers explore a garden, a living room, an attic, a kitchen and other rooms in a house, the chicken keeps popping up. It pops out of drawers, emerges from the toilet and appears from behind the television set. What does this chicken want? Does it own the house, or is it merely an avian interloper? Readers will never find out, but they will learn that this chicken likes to dance. At the end of a series of challenges, such as finding a pillow or a garden hose, the chicken jumps out, dancing to an addictive earworm of a song. The bulk of the app, which involves tapping objects on screen when prompted and activating others that are highlighted, is responsive and satisfying for young readers still learning basic words. The app's art is not particularly slick, and there's no story to speak of (even the kitchen scene promised in the title is anticlimactic), but the chicken's dance theme and the ease of navigation in the app nearly make up for it.
It's certainly not the most attractive app on the market, but its twitchy, cackling, dance-happy main character has a certain air of mystery that's hard to resist. (iPad storybook app. 18 mos.-5)