In a narrative spinoff of the Sago Mini app suite, five animal pals enlist the help of readers to keep their surprise-party preparations a secret from Jinja the cat.
Over the course of several double-page spreads, Jack the bunny makes snacks, Hugbot the robot puts together a party band, Robin (a bird) does “decoration duty,” etc., as Jinja almost spoils her surprise as she obviously walks in on each of these scenes across the recto. The text instructs readers to use fingers and hands to hide cupcakes, balloons, presents, and so on from the honoree. While the art is invitingly bright and jovial, some of the images may prove confusing to toddlers. Ice cream scoops are stacked on top of one another without cones, and Harvey the dog, who is “in charge of games,” seems to be engaged in some mysterious construction (turns out he was making a zip line), and is it is unclear what sort of critter purple Rosie is supposed to be (hamster? guinea pig?). Little hands may be hard-pressed to completely cover the images as instructed on the 8-inch-square pages. Tabs on the side of the book help readers jump to a scene with the desired character.
Fans should stick with the apps; others needn’t bother. (Board book. 2-3)