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JACK JONES by Tom Pearson

JACK JONES

by Tom Pearson, illustrated by Tom Pearson, developed by Red Magpie

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 2013
Publisher: Red Magpie

In a tale that isn’t much more than a pretext for a set of simple exercises in dexterity and visual recognition, young Jack sets out to find animal friends.

Said friends include a red, yellow and blue dragonfly that viewers are invited to pick out from a set of six differently colored ones and a three-eyed bat bobbing in a swarm of two-eyed fellows in a dark cave. There’s also a robot that needs to be assembled by dragging parts into place and several more figures hidden behind flickable rocks or otherwise waiting to be discovered. Jack and his new buddies are modeled as rounded, doughy forms in candy colors (a baby dinosaur and a yeti, both white, look like they’re made from marshmallow) and in the narration, speak with helium-high voices over snatches of tinkling music. In an odd disconnect, though, the lad’s vampirically pointed teeth and black eyes lend a faintly macabre look to the cartoon art. A dark-skinned character sitting by a pond of variously colored fish has wide, contrasting lips; it's another unfortunate visual choice and should perhaps be addressed in an update. Moreover, some page turns require completing a task such as exploring every side tunnel in an underground maze, and switching off the audio track also turns off the many touch-activated sound effects.

Interactive features aplenty, though they hang from a thin storyline and some problematic illustrations. (iPad storybook app. 6-8)