This overly cute mystery is admirable without being memorable.
Mother Squirrel, a Disney-worthy critter who wears a giant pink kerchief, loses her acorns to a burglar. Her quest to retrieve them will take her through many parts of the forest before she returns home to discover an unexpected surprise put together by her animal friends. (Spoiler: It’s a surprise party.) Kids may be enchanted by the lush artwork, in which every creature has beautiful, cuddly fur or perfectly pretty feathers. But for adults reading with them, Mother Squirrel's extended hunt soon becomes repetitious, even interminable. Much more interesting than the saccharine story is a set of story challenges, such as an exercise to divide up treats on a scale so both sides are equal in weight or a picture that's revealed by connecting letters of the alphabet. In its presentation and technical bona fides, the app soars. It has easy-to-navigate menus and doesn't trap readers on a page with an activity without allowing some sort of escape hatch to advance the story. A separate page of study activities (Numbers, Shapes, Grouping, etc.) is nicely done and varied enough to stay interesting even if each activity is limited to only a handful of problems.
Too bad the story doesn’t match the app’s technical competence. Luckily, there are enough things to play with inside to make it worth a look anyway. (iPad storybook app. 2-5)