The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad

VILAR-BOU, Jose Miguel & . 2016. BelMontis. iOS, requires 7.0 or later. Version 1.0. $3.99; Android, requires 4.0 and Up. Version 1.0. $2.99.
Gr 3–6—Children will enter an enchanting world filled with danger and mystery when they open this nonlinear storybook app by the creators of Rom and the Whale of Dreams. In this tale, an evil Wizard-King has stolen and hidden Aladdin's magic lamp containing the genie. The young Prince of Persia and Sinbad set sail in search of the lamp, traveling to magical lands. A soothing female narrator reads the story as words are highlighted on the page. The app is available in three languages; if English was selected on the title page, the Spanish or Chinese translation can be chosen to appear on the bottom of the screen.Navigation is intuitive. A tap to the screen turns the page; a touch to an icon allows viewers to see where Aladdin's ship has journeyed. (Users can jump to the locations noted on the map to explore and move around within the story.) Exotic string music and sound effects—crashing waves, booming thunder, and squawing seagulls—add atmosphere.Alejandra Zuniga Cardenas's intricate pencil, ink, and collage illustrations in earth tones capture the excitement of the quest. During the voyage, Aladdin and Sinbad must defend themselves against terrifying serpents, giant birds, and sea creatures. Tapping the screen allows viewers to animate the scenes by moving objects and triggering weather patterns. At various points, they are asked to make decisions about where the characters should go and what they should do. Should they travel to Upside-Down Kingdom or drift away in the current? In the end, viewers must decide how to punish the Wizard-King.The action-packed story line, descriptive language, original music, striking illustrations, and interactive format make this a stellar choice sure to captivate middle grade readers.—Cathy Potter, Falmouth Elementary School, Falmouth, ME

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