Caterpillar gets an extended play space in this bright, minimalist, seemingly artless app.
The action plays out on five continuous screens. Readers can pull apples (later pears, plums, etc.) down from trees and drag them into position; they can water seeds and plants to produce flowers or strawberries; they can open a toy box and fetch a ball (and other toys, like an aggressive windup ladybug, on later visits); they can urge the caterpillar onto a raft to float among rubber duckies. The fifth scene features a stump, onto which the caterpillar can be nudged for a nap while the off-screen “stations” are reset with additional fruit or other items. The original tale’s buffet of desserts and junk food never appears (alas?). Rendered in Carle’s distinctive style, the figures all pop off the plain, white backgrounds—particularly the caterpillar, who munches through fruit, swings on a vine, makes eye contact with viewers and creeps about energetically while growing increasingly chubby. Ultimately, the lumpy larva disappears into a chrysalis that can be flicked opened to free a big, colorful butterfly. A tap-hatchable egg then appears to kick off subsequent rounds. Above each “station,” small bars gradually fill in to let users know that it’s time to move on; otherwise, aside from an occasional arrow, there is no narrative, text or other prompt. Nonetheless, even very young children will quickly get the hang of things.
An irresistible invitation to free play with one of Carle’s signature characters (plus cameos from some others). (Requires iOS 6 and above.) (iPad activity app. 1-3)