Do you know where silk comes from? Do you know how seahorses breed? Do you know what a baby kangaroo is called? If you don’t know what the answers are, don’t worry. I didn’t either, not until I read StoryToys’ latest book: The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends.
A Mini Encyclopaedia
Rather than a typical storybook, this app is more similar to a mini encyclopaedia. You start by reading the story of a caterpillar: how it comes from a small egg, eats hungrily, and grows. Then, it spins silk around itself to make a cocoon, before breaking out of it as a butterfly.
The next page shows a list of facts regarding various sea animals such as octopus, hermit crab, jellyfish, and walrus. Afterwards the book returns to caterpillars, explaining how they eat and grow new skins as they grow bigger.
The book then goes on to discuss how seahorses breed, how several baby animals have special names, and what makes a chameleon special. The last two pages of the book discuss how to grow a seed into flowers, and how some animals use their body colors to hide and prey.
Each page is formatted in an encyclopaedic approach, always beginning with a "Did You Know?" To ensure that readers understand the contents of the app, the developers inserted mini games between the pages. For example, after introducing several sea animals, the app will ask the readers to identify these animals in an aquarium mini game.
Parents Need to Know
The app is based on a children book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle in 1969. But instead of simply transferring the contents of the book into an app, the developers have also used characters from Carle’s other books and created a fresh approach.
One of the things that the developers added into the app are educational mini games. Through playing, juniors can practice counting and sorting. They also learn to avoid sugary foods, and choosing fruits and other healthier food instead.
It is also worth knowing that The Very Hungry Caterpillar supports other languages in addition to English. The app is available in French, German, Spanish, and Japanese.
Things I Like
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a great app that lets you learn new things. The encyclopaedic approach really rouses one’s curiosity about various topics. Before reading the app, I didn’t know how silk is harvested. However, the first page of this book forced me to search for an answer.
The same thing happened in the second mini game. Here, the app asks which sea animals keep their babies in an egg pouch, similar to a kangaroo’s pocket. (Hint: it’s seahorses!)
I also like the badge system used to encourage juniors to play all the games. Each badge is unlocked by a different set of criteria. For example, to earn the eighth badge, you need to solve the jigsaw puzzles three times. This encourages you to read and play the app more than once.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends is a fresh approach to the popular children book by Eric Carle. Instead of simply rehashing the contents of the book, the developers chose to outline them in a fun mini encyclopaedia. I believe juniors ages 4+ can enjoy the book content on their own. But if you can accompany your kids, it would be a great learning experience for both of you.
App was provided for our honest review.
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