A young girl receives a mysterious invitation to afternoon tea.
This app has a lot going for it. The illustrations are crisp, creative and colorful; the narration is top-notch; the navigation is brilliantly simple. However, there are two elements that drag it down: a weak conclusion and lackluster interaction. In the story, the girl finds a bottle that contains an anonymous invitation to tea. The bulk of the tale follows the girl’s vivid imagination as she wonders who might have invited her. As she’s fretting over what to wear, a sea gull swoops down and snatches the invitation. Without the mysterious summons, she immediately gives up and heads for home, which leaves readers completely stranded. Since the invitation didn’t have a name or address on it, why should the loss of the piece of paper dampen her curiosity and determination to find the party? It’s superdisappointing when a major plot element suddenly drops off a cliff without any further mention. The story is mildly animated, but there aren’t many touch-and-response opportunities, which may prove frustrating for readers who want to be more a part of the story.
The well-done components of this app are really good, but its few oversights and missteps interfere with what would otherwise be a pleasant reading experience. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)