Doubting Dasha goes where everyone else fears to tread because she doubts there are monsters in the forest stealing her town’s grain.
Somebody is raiding the granary. Rumor has it that the scary ones who live deep in the swampy parts of the forest are the culprits, but that sounds like a stretch to Dasha, who specializes in doubting. So into the forest she marches, taking various routes and meeting with multiple monsters, from ugly, old Baba Yaga and a troll with a serious case of foot fungus to a werewolf with fleas and a zombie who is losing body parts right and left. Dasha defeats them all with kindness, and readers get to join her in curing the monsters’ many ills. The games are not mentally challenging, but a couple require a sure sense of screen touch, especially in ridding the werewolf of fleas and keeping the zombie’s eyeballs from dropping out of his head. The monsters’ dialogue is set in verse, which treads the line between cute and clownish: “We decided to come back / And help you with your human pack. / If you don’t mind that I’m so farty / We decided to throw a party!” A mildly annoying, noodling bit of music accompanies Dasha on her quest, but the artwork is an eyeful, full of the velvety colors of night. And, should readers persevere, they will learn the identity of the dirty rat making off with the grain.
The level of engagement and the story’s braided scenarios are taxing enough to keep younger users fully attentive. (iPad storybook app. 5-8)