A tap-happy reader’s dream guide to common insects—presented by Thing 1 and Thing 2 with the Cat in the Hat as impresario.
The index and reading list of the 1999 print edition have been dropped, but the rhymed text and Seuss-style pictures remain—and there’s lots going on. Touching well-nigh all of the figures, features, objects, items of clothing, trees or flowers whenever they appear on any screen results in both visual and voiced labels. Along with lots of tiny bugs that fly and hover on their own, many of the larger figures will also trail a moving fingertip. Likewise, tapping any word triggers a pronunciation, even with the “Read It Myself” option selected; tapping bolded words brings up a definition to boot. The six-legged cast includes black ants, caterpillars and butterflies, crickets, flies, mosquitoes, ladybugs, praying mantises, grasshoppers and other widely distributed insect types, with cameos from spiders and other predators. Terms like “thorax” and “pollination” kick up the level of detail in discussions of insect behavior, defenses and diversity. Though the overstimulated narrator, a lad in the illustrations who is loudly identified as “Dick!” whenever he’s tapped, and a text that, on some screens, appears piecemeal may distract less-focused students, this introduction to the insect realm is as functional as it is fun.
A solid once-over, with systematic digital enhancements that will draw a buzz from newly independent readers. (iPad informational app. 5-8)