Mike Austin’s A Present for Milo (December 2010) is Ruckus Media’s first app created expressly for the iPad and lacking a print predecessor. The story is simple: Milo, a kitten, chases a mouse through the house until they reach — surprise! — a birthday party. This is all perfectly acceptable board book material given added dimension here by a plethora of finger-poking opportunities: a framed painting of a sailboat reveals an octopus when touched, another mouse can be found playing in a ball of yarn, hit the light-chain and the room goes dark, each effect accompanied by crisp sound effects. Austin reads the printed text aloud (barring words like boing or bounce, which are represented by sounds and visuals instead) but it’s easy to lose its thread what with all the hidden effects and noises to discover (the mouse in the flying saucer is my favorite) before swiping to the next scene. If not particularly characterful, the pictures are cleanly drawn and offer lots to point at — just mind your finger, as you never know just what is going to pop next.
Available for iPad (requires iOS 3.2 or later); $1.99. Recommended for preschool users.