To a driving musical beat, flying cyclists cross the Hudson to save New York from bike- and sneaker-eating smog monsters in this melodramatic romp.
Prompted by an urgent dream, young Mona-Star recruits rakish sidekick Merx, a flock of vermilion birds and Velo, “a small tornado who dreamed of being a DJ,” to head off a Fourth of July attack of floating green Guzzle Thugs intent, apparently, on forcing New Yorkers back into their cars. After escaping the lead monster’s maw, Mona leads them to the top of the Empire State Building, where a magical Golden Dragonfly melts them with bolts of “electric color.” Off they eel into the storm drains—leaving tap-happy readers to fill the skies with celebratory fireworks while a final glimpse of one camouflaged as an evil bike stand hints at future episodes. Mona-Star and Merx sport manga-style features in the saturated color cartoon scenes. Along with slow animations, every screen offers sprays of stars, balloons to pop or other tap-activated effects; one screen is even a Manhattan map of selected landmarks that pop up, with a descriptive comment, at a touch. However, on several screens the narrative fades in and out of view (the text is not visible at all in cellphone versions). An associated four-song download requires a separate purchase.
Flash and dash aplenty, though the text isn’t well-presented, and the plotting is anything but a smooth ride. (iPad storybook app. 7-9)