An original, folkloric tale set in Taiwan and positively festooned with maps, games and nonfiction side articles—but much in need of better translation and proofreading.
Li pairs two turtles—one belonging to a clan from Toucheng that “held a peaceful and prosperous life by fishing,” the other from the port of Keelung, which specializes in “delivering various goods on the sea”—who fall in love “at the very first sight” and are wed with much rejoicing. Zheng illustrates the speedy romance with childlike, pink-dominant assemblages of waxy crayon strokes, large pieces of cut paper and carved vegetable stamps. Value-added features include a labeled map (the same map) of the local coastline that spins friskily into view on every screen with the touch of a corner, two simple interactive games and four multiscreen side essays with photos. These last survey the Taiwanese fishing industry (whose workers “attract small fishes like sardines by exploiting their phototaxis nature”), wedding legends and the important functions of nonprofit organizations in Taiwanese society. There is an option for audio narration, but only for the story, and the narrator’s script sometimes varies slightly from the visible text. An icon on each screen allows readers to switch among English, Japanese and Chinese versions. If not always fluid, the English translation is frequently laughable: “A day at sea equals three days without defecation,” according to one folk saying.
A charming tale, but not seaworthy enough to bear the heaping cargo of cultural information it’s plainly designed to carry. (strip index) (iPad storybook/informational app. 7-10)