A rainy day is rendered in rhythmic wordplay and animated crayon sketches in this interactive iBook.
Falling somewhere between a full-blown iPad app and a standard iBooks-format e-book, this story of children playing in rain and mud feels like a playful experiment. As an introductory page explains, this translation to English “includes onomatopoeia from the original Japanese book.” Younger readers unfamiliar with Japanese may have trouble with these words at first, but iBooks’ “Start Reading” option toggles narration that breezes through bits such as, “Becha-becha, bicha-bicha, guchan-guchan. Gobo-gobo, zaba-zaba, ba-shan ba-shan.” Much of it is repetitive enough to pick up quickly, and hearing it aloud helps immeasurably. Animations throughout are simple and a little rough, but the use of color to highlight characters on black-and-white pages and the ambient sound of rain falling are more than effective enough to convey a mood of joyful outdoor fun. The splashing, romping, raincoat-clad children are skillfully suggested with just a few lines and energetic scribbles; they are clearly having the time of their young lives. The mix of English and Japanese feels just right, and the compositions are simple enough to make the scenes clear. Raincoats and umbrellas can be great fun, and the tongue-twisting beats of the words in this enhanced book are, too.
Though less full-featured than an app, this minimalist interactive story nonetheless holds its own. (Requires iPad 2 and above.) (Enhanced e–picture book. 2-6)