Lively, brightly colored illustrations featuring a full kit of touch-activated details infuse this traditional cumulative tale with infectious cheer.
The titular “tower” is really only a tree-stump house with a bell hanging outside to ring, a colorfully decorated window to fling open, and enough room to accommodate not only Burrow Mouse, but Treesong Frog, Runaround Rabbit, Foxy Fox and Greyside Wolf too as each comes along. Not, alas, Bigpaw Bear though, whose weight causes the whole house to collapse with a mighty crash. Undeterred, the happy housemates instantly build a new and bigger dwelling to share. The animals, dressed in comfy country duds, gesture and identify themselves at a tap on (nearly) every screen. Along with panning and zooming for a 3-D effect, the cartoon scenes also include touch- and tilt-sensitive items, from dandelion puffs to a sun/moon toggle. Though the English or Russian text/audio narrative tracks can only be selected at the beginning, an icon on each screen allows readers to switch the audio and sprightly background music on or off, and the overlaid cartouches of small type text can be minimized with a tap to leave the art unobstructed.
Hard not to smile at this, whether it’s read as a tribute to communal living or a simple bit of rustic foolery. (iPad storybook app. 5-7)