Eric Carle’s beloved character The Very Hungry Caterpillar may have made its debut on paper, but nowadays it’s also making a splash in apps. Last year we saw it emerge as a butterfly in The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Friends Play and Explore, then we got to take care of it in My Very Hungry Caterpillar. Recently, it has also taken a liking to teaching preschoolers their first words.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Friends First Words is the latest in the StoryToys Jr line aimed at toddlers and preschoolers. As you might have guessed from the title, the app introduces early learners to their first words. It includes over 80 words, from farm animals to family, with colorful illustrations by Eric Carle himself.
My First Words
Like many StoryToys apps, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Friends First Words is made to look like a book sitting on top of a table. You flip the pages (or use the navigational arrows) to reveal an interactive 3D pop-up scene. A gentle narration introduces each page with a playful rhyme:
Deep in the jungle
A crocodile splashes
An elephant stomps
And a lion dashes
When you tap on an object, you see and hear its associated word. If a second language has been set, a second tap lets you see and hear the same word in that language. A third tap lets you listen to the sounds associated with the object, for example, a horse neighs and a clock chimes.
The app has over 80 words grouped into 13 categories, including farm, jungle, sea and garden animals, food, objects around the house, family, and transport. The final page is a quiz in which you are tasked to answer the questions by tapping on the correct object. It’s a simple and great way to allow early learners to test what they have learned.
Parents Need to Know
Although primarily designed for ages 5 and under, you can use the app to help kids of all ages learn a new language. You can select a second language from the main screen. The app currently supports English, French, German, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish. Narration in each language is done by professional actors.
The app comes with two reading modes: Read to Me and Read it Myself. In Read it Myself, the narrator will only read the rhyme when you turn the page. The object themselves will not be named aloud.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Friends First Words is safe for kids as it doesn’t require Internet access. Furthermore, it does not include ads or in-app purchases. A secured “More Apps” section is accessible from the main screen, but can also be turned off from within the Parent Center.
Things I Like
A well-made visual dictionary for young kids. Although brightly colored, the app’s overall tone is gentle and relaxed. There is no rush to turn the page; kids can take as long as they need to explore every scene. The narration is clear and friendly.
Visually, the app is just as lovely as any other 3D pop-up titles by StoryToys. Navigation is easy, and there is enough interaction to keep young children engaged. I like the quiz at the final page as it helps enforce learning.
Cute 3D pop-up dictionary uses Eric Carle’s enchanting illustrations to help preschoolers learn their first words. A gentle narration is included in every page, as well as word labels and fun sound effects. You can also use the app to learn new languages by choosing a second language from the menu. A great app for fans of The Very Hungry Caterpillar book.
App was provided for our honest review.