Alex unravels the mystery of the mess that was his after-school snack.
All children can relate to the anticipation of a favorite snack, so when Alex builds his strawberry-jam–and-bread tower, it has every potential to be the highlight of his day and readers’. Delaying gratification, he then introduces his pets, climbs several flights of stairs to rescue his mom and returns to find his snack has exploded all over the kitchen. He questions his jam-covered cat, hamster and parrot, all of whom have alibis. Just then, the culprit, Alex’s grandpa, appears and explains how he caused the unbelievable mess. Grandpa’s dentures pop out onto Alex’s head when he rubs Grandpa’s belly. The end. This odd little app features a nifty “techno-magic” approach that allows readers to tilt their devices up and down, left and right, to get a 180-degree view of each scene. Add exceptional character narration and full digital animation, and a visual feast spreads out before the readers. But that’s about all you get here; with no real story to support it, it feels like a high-tech board book.
Like a Twinkie for an afternoon snack, it’ll appeal to young readers, but it’s a poor substitute for satisfying, nutrient-rich storytelling. (iPad storybook app. 4-9)