David Wiesner’s Spot Review
iPad App
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David Wiesner’s Spot Review

Our Review by Amy Solomon on March 17th, 2015
Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: SPOT ON ILLUSTRATIONS
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David Wiesner’s Spot is a clever storybook for all ages containing no words, but it delivers fantastical illustrations.

Developer: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Price: $3.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 3

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Storytelling/Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Intuitiveness Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar

Few apps transcend age barriers as David Wiesner’s Spot does - a picture book without words and a wonderful piece of artwork developed for the iPad for children and their adults, young and old alike. Many readers will know the work of David Wiesner, a three-time Caldecott winner known for his fantastical wordless picture books that I greatly admire. Here, David Wiesner’s Spot is also reminiscent of the Zoom books by Istvan Banyai - books that begin with a close-up of a detail and with the turn of each page the image one sees becomes zoomed back to show a bigger picture.

Here, one begins the journey of Spot with the ability to enlarge the image of a ladybug large enough to look inside its center spot, bringing you into a world where one can zoom the pages closer and closer with the use of a fingertip, diving into the brilliantly detailed worlds of five distinctly different stories.

These different landscapes include the use of more ladybugs, a wondrous cat theme, and the ability to explore outer space as well as under the sea. I appreciate how unique these plots are to each other yet there are some cyclical moments where one can cross over to other areas of the app, which I find quite interesting, to be sure. I also have had fun with the quiet nature of this app - silent oftentimes, except for a woosh sound when zooming in. Other sound elements are included as well, best left for readers to discover on their own as they add nicely to the magical effect.

The technical aspect of this app allows users to use their fingertips to pinch or zoom the pages, both simply to make the images on the page larger as well as to have the equivalent of turning a page in a book. Doing so brings readers one step closer into what they are looking at with many wonderful details and charming tangents as the story takes twists and turns.

Spot does a nice job of drawing the eye to areas that are zoomable with subtle highlights, but I do wish I could spread my fingers to return to the past page - not just pinch to pull back and minimize within a single screen - thus forwarding the story, as I have enjoyed turning back a page within the Zoom books to further appreciate the unique transitions provided.

Instead, Spot users will find themselves needing to tap the home page, bringing them back to a menu page of sorts that allows readers to re-select from the five plots available instead of being able to backtrack with the pinch of fingers, which would keep them fully immersed for longer stretches of time. Having said this, I can easily recommend David Wiesner’s Spot both to fans of his work as well as those interested in illustrations in general - including adults. I would love to see more apps developed to include David Wiesner’s masterful drawings.

iPad Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

David Wiesner's Spot screenshot 1 David Wiesner's Spot screenshot 2 David Wiesner's Spot screenshot 3 David Wiesner's Spot screenshot 4 David Wiesner's Spot screenshot 5
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