A little orange spud travels through space in a flying saucer in this diverting, yet too-short story of interstellar adventure.
Oobie, a small, round blob with a tuft of purple hair, takes off from a planetary platform and is soon sailing through the cosmos, scoping out brightly colored planets, a friendly moon and even ricocheting comets and bouncing asteroids. The story's 10 pages contain minimal text. Oobie's encounter with our brightest star only reads, "and the Sun..." But the pages are competently narrated, and the navigation couldn't be clearer and uncluttered: just two page-turning icons and a home button to get back to the main menu. Sound effects like echoes of space boulders banging together or the whoosh of a space warp aren't exactly educational (the vacuum of space would preclude sound design, no matter how well done), but along with the simple colors and minimalist illustration style, the app seems ideal for the youngest readers. A theme song for the app at the end is disarmingly unpolished, but very cute. It's puzzling that the best feature in the app, a "Playground" mode in which readers can fling Oobie around the screen and hear him speak (mostly in grunts or to cry "Ouch!" during mid-space collisions) is separate from the main story. Oobie reacts like a glob of slime, and it's great fun to play around with the physics of his body and to watch him float among the stars (which can be played as musical notes).
Oobie's space adventure ends far too soon, but the playground is an especially clever plaything in an app that will please many would-be astronauts. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)