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Review: ‘Memoirs of a Goldfish’ for the iPad

Devin Scillian’s Goldfish is one frustrated creature. Listening to him, you’ll also discover just how snarky he can be.

Title: Memoirs of a Goldfish
: Devin Scillian
Illustrator: Tim Bowers
Developed by: Gale Cengage Learning, Inc./Sleeping Bear Press
: iPad, requires iOS 4.0 or later
: 1.0
Price: $4.99

PreS-Gr 2-Help! The opening screen of Scillian’s Memoirs of a Goldfish depicts said Goldfish holding up a sign. His bowl is brimming with an assortment of plastic toys, plants, and other aquatic animals, and the woebegone creature needs some assistance.

The app features the same colorful cartoonlike illustrations by Bowers as the book (Sleeping Bear, 2010), enhanced with animation: fish swim about, bubbles rise from the bottom of the bowl, and faces light up with expression. Readers can choose to read the story on their own or listen to it; both options require that they advance the story with a tap or a swipe. The narrator’s voice is clear and sentences are highlighted as they are read. There are a couple of points in the story where children can open up a palette and add color to outlined images.

Audio can be a bit slow to load and if readers flip through the story too quickly two pages of audio will play simultaneously. Persistent tappers will discover that they can pull up a table of contents from the bottom of the screen, but others may be frustrated when they try to start the story over, or advance a few pages at a time. But these are likely to be minor frustrations for children looking for an engaging interactive story.—April Wulber, Darke County Educational Service Center, Greenville, OH