A modern take on "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" features a charming style of animation and a lovable family of pandas.
The Panda Family takes a break from its breakfast of bamboo leaf porridge to take a walk in the bamboo forest. While they're gone, a young girl named Mei Mei walks through the familiar home-intrusion routine that most children will recognize. She finds Baby Panda's porridge to her liking, deems his chair most comfortable (but not before breaking it) and ends up in his cozy bed. What could have been a lazy retread with pandas and a distinct Chinese influence is instead made fresh with the app's animations, which combine photo collages, a live-action actress portraying Mei Mei (in a red dress and black Mary Janes) and movement for the pandas when the reader "tickles" each of them, as the app advises. The app can be experienced in English and Chinese (in both the text and optional narration), and a portion of the proceeds from each app sale goes to Pandas International, which has partnered with the publisher. Except for two letters that are exchanged at the end bringing the pandas and Mei Mei back together for a happy ending, the story is not much different from what readers expect from a "Goldilocks" story.But the design is clever, and the visuals (along with the unfailingly adorable pandas themselves) make it worth a look. (iPad storybook app. 2-7)