UG by Patrick Buss


A Prehistoric Adventure
by & illustrated by & developed by
Age Range: 7 - 9
Available on the App Store
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Cave boy Ug run off rather than go school. He get lost, get big sad, turn over new leaf when reunited with Mamug and Papug.

Written in “cave-speak prose,” according to the description in the App Store, that has clear links to stereotypical "Injun Talk" (“He really no be big chief,” observes the narrator. “What big fool be me!” Ug concurs ruefully), this plodding epic is read nearly in a monotone by the author. The story is minimal. The skin-clad lad rejects parental orders, invents the spear (though strangers with spears show up later on), recruits a saber-tooth tiger and other animals to start a short-lived school of his own and then loses track of where “hole sweet home” is. Nearly every one of the no fewer than 49 splashy (think Robert Andrew Parker) watercolor pictures has to pan, scroll or ricochet wildly over several screens before any text appears—which not only makes the pacing snailish even with the audio switched off, but prevents quick paging back or forth. Signaled by an intrusive flashing “Tap to explore!” icon, a few screens feature a draggable figure, a snatch of drumbeat-driven dance music or other touch-activated feature. An oddly shaped tab (perhaps an animal pelt?) at the top of every screen pulls down a thumbnail menu, though the images are so small and, in many cases, so similar to one another, it is no real aid to navigation.

Too long, too slow, written in a prose idiom that is, at best, questionable. Ugh. (iPad storybook app. 7-9)


Pub Date: Jan. 18th, 2011
Publisher: Ice Cream Fine Storybooks
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2011


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