Sleepy Mole and his teddy bear need a new place to rest because construction workers have intruded upon their burrow, making it too bright and too noisy to sleep. And so begins the choose-your-own-adventure storybook app Sleepy Mole’s Moving Day (Ginger Whale, 2011). On his quest to secure a quiet abode, Sleepy Mole encounters an array of other creatures living underground that either turn or scare him away.
With eight possible new homes and sixteen creatures to meet on his journey, users determine the outcome of the story by choosing a direction for Mole to travel. Pointing-hand icons indicate which paths are available at any given moment. Touching an icon prompts Mole to dig through the dirt toward a new outcome. A tab on the homepage contains a creature guide, which switches creature icons to grayscale once you’ve met them and saves your progress. The real challenge is attempting to meet them all. It’s all fun and games until you’ve stumbled upon the fox and snake burrows twenty different times but can’t, for the life of you, track down the den of ants — it still eludes me. The repetition will most likely please repeat picture-book readers.
Melanie Matthews’s illustrations of wide-eyed Sleepy Mole in his striped pajamas and cap with the tiniest hint of bags under his eyes so accurately capture the frustration of not being able to sleep when you want to. A dreamy music-box lullaby underscores the narration (there’s also an option to “Read Myself”) making this a fantastic choice for a bedtime story.