Bad writing sinks this perplexing story about a misfit bird.
Illustrator Tone is clearly a gifted visual artist. Luscious combinations of color decorate every screen of this beautiful app, providing page after page of visual bliss. Interactive/animated elements are minimal, but fittingly so. The part that Tone could have used a little help on is writing the story (or perhaps translating it; the text can be read in English, French or its original Italian). The basic gist is easy to follow: In a family of high achievers, one little bird is a virtual failure. While others effortlessly swim, sing and fly, he falters time and again. But he’s a tenacious little guy. Eventually, he manages to tie a balloon around himself and fly, but it pops and leaves him stranded and alone. While lamenting his fate, he meets some lost flowers and agrees to stay with them until their children are born. The benevolent bird braves the elements throughout the seasons, and in the spring, a bird-shaped tree full of flowers has taken his place. Did he die? Was he a vegetable that had somehow been trapped in an avian body? Did he finally morph into what he was created to be?
Head-scratching storyline aside, it’s a beautiful book. Here’s hoping Tone will continue to create stunning visual scenery and leave the writing to someone else. (iPad storybook app, 2-6)