An introduction to Mandela illustrated with cutesy, bigheaded cartoon figures.
Mandela’s career from childhood to retirement from the presidency of South Africa is covered in 10 spacious, tidily drawn scenes populated by gently swaying figures that smile, frown or occasionally wave an arm to show emotion. Touch-sensitive features on each screen are limited to a pop-up map (usually the same one, showing Johannesburg), toggle switches for the audio and a drop-down text that is optionally read (with some errors) in a wooden tone. On the opening menu, readers can choose English, French or Spanish—or opt to skip the story entirely to take a quiz, play three simple interactive games or visit a “portrait gallery” to meet 10 prominent South Africans. The language is so conciliatory that the 1976 mass killing at Soweto is presented as a case of police losing their “calm,” and South Africa today, as a country where blacks and whites are “definitively” united. Perhaps most distressing, in both the main narrative and the gallery Mandela is treated as still alive despite the app’s recent update.
Shallow and flawed. (iPad informational app. 7-9)