There’s No Place Like Space is the first title from The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library developed by Oceanhouse Media. Like their other Dr. Seuss apps, There’s No Place like Space faithfully adapts the printed version of this book as well as adding some new interactive elements.
For those who may not know, The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library is a non-fiction series for children that teaches different subjects of interest to kids, such as dinosaurs or sea life, always staring the Cat in the Hat and human counterparts - siblings Sally and Dick, as well as Thing One and Thing Two. My son loves these new adventures with the gang from the classic Cat in the Hat books, as do I.
Here, There’s No Place Like Space tackles the topic of outer space, introducing the planets in the solar system, with vivid descriptions of each one, a fun mnemonic to help kids remember each of their names and correct order, as well as fun facts about the sun, moon, constellations and other related information.
Like other Oceanhouse Media apps, this universal app includes narration, also allowing one can read this book to oneself. This app, like many others from this developer, does a great job of incorporating the traditional illustrations found in the classic books, with the use of “The Ken Burns Effect’ as these drawings are panned and zoomed across to create effect.
Some of these single pages have been expanded to create a screen full-screen spread, but the text is the same as found in the printed book, delivered paragraph by paragraph, aiding in threading of these rhymes.
Interesting interactions can also be explored here - a new element found among Oceanhouse Media apps and a nice inclusion to their new The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library series of applications.
Move individual images such as the gang's spaceship and the planets floating among these pages around the screen, which then fall back into their alignment and can also be moved around the screen as a whole - a nice touch to emphasize their order in the solar system. The ability to create constellations with a tap is also included as well, a personal favorite interaction.
Simple animated movements can also be found such as the planets revolving around the sun - an image, together combined with the relaxing, vaguely science fictionish music found throughout, create a moment that is surprisingly moving.
I like use of Thing One and Thing Two who are somewhat hidden among these pages, encouraging kids to find them and tap, as doing so makes these creatures hold up a sign containing a fun fact or science-related question - an element also found in the published book, made nicely interactive within this application.
I also appreciate how the published book contains a glossary of words touched upon in this story. Here, these words are highlighted and can be tapped to hear and see these glossary words explained. Like the other Oceanhouse Media apps, individual words or full paragraphs can also be tapped to be narrated, as well as any of the objects within the page, as these items will be labeled and spoken when tapped without competing with the narrator reading the text, always a nice touch.
It is worth noting that this application is based on the updated version of There’s No Place Like Space omitting Pluto, which was demoted from planet to dwarf planet in 2006. Because of this, the page pertaining to Pluto and the mnemonic have been removed and changed from my older copy of There’s No Place Like Space to correspond with the re-classification.
I am thrilled that my favorite voice talent, John Bell, is back to narrate this application.
There’s No Place Like Space, although a creative, fun and educational book, is not written by Seuss himself, although it is written in a Seuss-like style. I enjoy this book, as does my son, but my husband and I did comment to ourselves that the text is not as well-written as the classic books by Seuss.
I think the narration by John Bell brings so very much to this application. Having narrated other of Oceanhouse Media's Dr. Seuss apps before, Bell understands the cadence, rhyme and whimsy found in Dr. Seuss prose, as is able to infuse his narration with a Seussian flair that does not exist as much in the words found on the page as it does within Bell’s brilliant delivery. I hope to continue to hear more of his great talent in other applications.
My son and I and I have really enjoyed this application. Although recommended for ages five to eight, I can’t see why younger children four or possibly younger would not enjoy this app as well. I am very happy to hear that this is only the first app in The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library as I enjoy sharing non-fiction books with my son as well.
I eagerly await to see which book in this series will be adapted next, having enjoyed the extra features not comply found within a Oceanhouse Media app. Having said this, I think the price tag of $5.99 is high compared to other apps at this price point, and a lower price would be more in line with what parents are typically looking to spend per application.