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by Timothy BrewerDouglas Harsch illustrated by Timothy Brewer developed by 2Dads~In~Brooklyn

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: May 28th, 2012
Publisher: 2Dads in Brooklyn

After leaving his cello in the trunk of a cab, a world-renowned musician enlists help to recover his prized instrument.

This scattered storybook app has plenty of character and a few nice technological twists, but it’s so weighed down with peripheral stimuli and superfluous content that getting through it is downright laborious. Mo-Mo Ya, a pig, leaves his cello in the trunk of Cabby Cat’s taxi. A band of street musicians, the Hound Dogs, covets the million-dollar instrument and steals it out of the cab. Ya and his entourage track the thieves down, forgive everything and then immediately form a band and play a two-hour concert. The story is allegedly based on true events, but the narrative has so many gaps, it’s not easily swallowed. On the plus side, the 3-D rotation and zooming add a unique flair, and the rendition of Elgar’s Cello Concerto is fabulous. Several New York landmarks are highlighted with brief, pop-up history lessons, and the personality of the Big Apple shines throughout. Certain tasks, several of which are inane (a color-identification game at Ya’s hotel check-in desk, for instance), must be performed before an arrow appears to advance to the next page. At times the dreadful, rhymed text doesn’t match narration, and sentences that are split over page turns often require backtracking to determine context. The app does not work on first-generation iPads.

Cabby could use a little less catnip and lot more refining. (iPad storybook app. 6-10)