A young tourist and her cat go walkabout (well, in a minibus) Down Under.
Detailed on an opening map that also functions as an index for skipping around, the 10 stops that Lulu and her feline foil Zazou make range from Brisbane and Sydney to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and, for a bit of surfing, Cactus Beach. Along the way, the pair encounter koalas, penguins, kangaroos and didgeridoo-playing Aborigines—and readers can pause for a wildlife matching game, outfit Lulu with a sunhat and have her “throw” a boomerang along a finger-traced route. Along with small automatic animations on every page, taps on the cartoon figures activate jerky additional movements (notably a funky dance), sound effects and several original short songs or pieces of instrumental music. An option for silent reading is available but not recommended. The English or French audio narrative not only has to be muted separately on each screen but extends the visible text considerably with conversations, factual input (“Why did you wake me up? Don’t you know that koalas sleep for 18 hours a day?”) and additional descriptive commentary. An upcoming sequel gets no fewer than three plugs on the final page.
The animation and text/audio connections need work, but the colorful illustrations, appealing cast and a light load of basic information will draw armchair travelers. (iPad informational app. 6-8)