Not even a barnacle escapes attention in this captivating story of a little boat and his adventure to the Old Ship Yard.
Little boat Jackie Junko can’t go out on a sea voyage with his dad because he must go to school, but with the help of his sidekick Ping, a tug, he braves a water-world adventure of his own. The first in an original series, the tale shows the polish seasoned digital animators can bring. Visually, it is impressive, mixing the best of traditional illustration with 2-D animation and thoughtful, interactive fun. Each page is layered with lush, Asian-inspired land, city and seascapes (though it takes place in Aberdeen Harbour), and brilliantly detailed creatures and characters. Readers can swipe the fish to make them swim, twirl the starfish, release the sea monster, help Ping pull Jackie from danger and learn to spell some key words along the way. Spot-on English-accented narration joins playful sound effects and background music for a pleasing aural experience. A read-to-me mode with a highlighted-word function and a page menu add up to an enjoyable learning experience for emerging readers. The actual writing is a little on the wooden side, but the rest of the package is solid.
If this maiden voyage is any indication, Jackie Junko is set for smooth sailing ahead. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)