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ELLA BELLA BEACH ADVENTURE by Rock Pocket Games

ELLA BELLA BEACH ADVENTURE

By Rock Pocket Games

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: July 4th, 2012
Publisher: Rock Pocket Games

A rained-out day at the beach leads to a happier day indoors for a group of kids in this sharp-looking but ultimately uninspired app.

Wormy-haired Ella asks her father if she and some friends can spend the day at the beach, but the day's cut short by a storm. Returning home, the group turns the living room into a beach-play area, goes treasure hunting and has an indoor picnic. When the rain stops and the outdoors are again an option, Ella says, "We've already had the best day at the beach ever." The app's art style, with its inviting, soft colors, rounded edges and clean details, is the star feature here, even if it at times feel visually repetitive. But although the objects, characters and backgrounds of each scene seem to invite interaction, there's generally only one interaction per page, and often, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the story. It's a missed opportunity, given the app's otherwise solid presentation. An app with top-notch writing and memorable characters wouldn't need the help. But unfortunately for this one, the text is ho-hum ("The sun shines in through Ella's window. It wakes her up"), and Ella barely stands out from all her similarly cheerful, overstimulated friends. 

There's a useful message for kids about making lemonade, but this beach adventure won't be memorable enough for most readers to see past the lemons. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)