Young readers help six animals get their lunches in this gently interactive storybook app.
“Hi, hedgehog. What nice apples. Bon appétit!” the narrator says. But the poor little guy can’t shake them down from the tree without some help. When readers tap an apple, it falls down so the hedgehog can happily munch away. This storybook presents six short vignettes; in each, readers must help an animal get its lunch, by dropping a fish into the cat’s mouth, scooting cheese closer to the mouse or shaking seeds out for two little birds. The illustrations are delightful, with a blend of digital art, layered textures and cartoonish characters. Oversized googly eyes add the right touch of humor, and sound effects complement the gentle narration. No printed words appear alongside the story, and the only option is to select autoplay. The interactive animations run smoothly, bringing each character to life. The pace, however, proceeds so deliberately that it lags. In order to teach children “to anticipate the meal and to enjoy the process in steady pace [sic],” readers must tap the food only when it is highlighted. If overeager fingers tap the food before the animal is ready, a little “wait” notice floats up. This has the effect of keeping readers in a passive mode for much of the story.
It’s a warm, enjoyable experience, but the pace is so measured and controlled that readers might lose interest before everyone gets his or her lunch. (Requires iOS 7 and above.) (iPad storybook app. 2-4)