Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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Readers may be interested to hear about a new simple and sweet app for children -The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends First Words -that includes the grand artwork of Eric Carle. At first glance, children will be intrigued by the pop-up effects seen within as this app is filled with brightly-colored and lovingly-detailed collage artwork Carle is know for - such as many charming animal characters children will be familiar with, objects seen around one’s house and in nature, and other words young ones will benefit from being familiar with.
Each of these creatures or items looks as though it is attached to the book as a paper flap standing upright to engage the earliest of app users, who will also be drawn in by how these details look as if they fold back down when the pages are turned for a very nice, realistic effect. Do tap what you find on each of these pages, as doing so will trigger word associations as the name of each item is both spoken as well as seen in word form. Also included are questions that ask children to identify chosen words with a touch - a nice addition that brings an added level of interaction to this universal application.
Gentle, sleepy music can be heard as well as a short poem related to each of this book's thirteen themes - be it farm, jungle, ocean, an outdoor home-specific area, a space dedicated to people of all ages, lots of colorful food choices, vehicles, and more.
There is a lot of polish within The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends First Words. The music is delightfully subdued, and the poems heard at the turn of each page are thoughtfully written bits of language that I am quite fond of, complete with spot on narration that hits all the right notes.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends First Words- stylized to look like a traditional board book seen center screen of one’s device, although not meant to take the place of hands-on book experiences -is a charming application to share on one’s device with children both while out and about as well as during relaxing times at home, with pop-up elements that can’t be torn off or otherwise mishandled. Also nice is the ability to select different languages, making this app an interesting choice for older children and even adults interested in learning new words of a different tongue.
The only element that gives me pause, however, is that when a user holds their device, any movements from shaky hands will create a 3D effect that pivots the book to show users different angles of the page.Although this is meant to re-create the ability to see around the folded up flaps at different points-of-view for a full dimensional effect, I found this element to be rather sensitive, creating movements that one may find distracting.
Likewise, the different marbled, watercolor-like landscapes behind the board book - with hues that change with each page turn and are seen with a soft focus - are used presumably to create a depth of field that I could do without. For me, the lack of crispness of these backgrounds doesn't translate the art of Carle as well as better resolution would.
Even with these minor notes there is certainly a lot to admire about The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends First Words, which is an app that will be enjoyed by both fans of Eric Carle as well as other families, making it easy to recommend.