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Review: ‘Dinner for Two’ for the iPad

If you missed yesterday’s post on the bookshelf trend and the Piccolo Picture Books shelf, you’ll find it here. We’ll be looking at the contents of this bookshelf all week.

Title: Dinner for Two
: Sanne de Bakker 
: Noëlle Smit
Published by
: Uitgeverij Unieboek | Het Spectrum B.V.
Developed by
: Unieboek | Het Spectrum B. V. and Mobile Generation
: iPad iOS 4.2 or later, iPad exclusive 
: 1.2
: $4.99, purchase through the Piccolo Picture Books bookshelf app

PreS- Gr 1-It’s Ria’s birthday and Theo wants to take her out for dinner. He spies a house in the distance, and as the two approach it, readers will realize that the spindly little characters are not just generic bugs on the prowl, but mosquitoes hoping for a juicy meal.

Theo, an incurable optimist, pounces upon several likely candidates once inside the house: a sleeping baby, a scruffy dog upon which other bugs are setting up beach umbrellas, and a man with a luxurious mustache. Ria has problems with them all (finding none suitable for a birthday dinner) but finally lands upon the ample bottom of one of the family members, and urges her partner to “eet smakelijk” (bon appétit!). This story works better in the creator’s jaunty, colloquial Dutch than in English, the translation into which is a little stiff. It is possible to hear the tale read, to read it minus the narration, or choose “learn to read,” an option in which children will hear the text recited while the relevant words are highlighted on the page.

Viewers will enjoy finding the subtle extra features on the colorful pages depicting the mosquitoes and their victims; touching the dog’s face, for example, causes him to blink lazily and snore, and the slumbering baby can be made to coo by tapping its bed. (Sometimes touching different spots to find out what the page will “do” causes the story to flip to the next screen.) As this slight but enjoyable app is available in multiple languages and can be read and listened to, it will find lots of use in the library as a language-learning tool.—Henrietta Thornton, Library Journal