A baby giraffe’s search for a rain cloud reveals something even more exciting than rain.
The Simply Small series by Dutch-Canadian author/illustrator Opal is a collection of sweet stories about baby animals seeking answers to their not-so-simple problems. This, the first interactive app based on the series, mirrors the less-is-more approach of the original board book with a tightly composed story about patience, exploration and friendship. All the crucial elements are present: boldly drawn illustrations, interactive elements on each page, simple sound effects and movement, and drawing/puzzle options to extend the app’s shelf life. The narrative charts a familiar question-and-answer path, with plenty of read-along fun to keep squirmy toddlers engaged. Navigation is as easy as Saffy is cute, with a question icon that tells adult readers how to record their own versions, how to repeat the narration by single-tapping the text and where to find the page index. If there’s any fault here, however slight, it’s that the narrator’s expression falls a bit flat in places. But thanks to self-record, parents and early readers can bypass the narrator altogether.
That small splat aside, the app beautifully illustrates how a simple story, well presented, can be simply refreshing. (iPad storybook app. 1-4)