David Wiesner's Spot is a new app that takes parents and children on a fantastic visual adventure into strange and unique worlds that they have never seen before. This wordless picture book, by award-winning author/illustrator David Wiesner, has earned our highest distinction, a TOP PICK, for its groundbreaking use of technology and its superb design.
Created specifically for the iPad, David Wiesner's Spot is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a major publisher of educational books and materials. The first thing parents will notice is the absence of some traditional app features, but this is by design. Spot does not contain any spoken dialogue, since all of the characters are non-human. Instead, the robots, viperfish, cats, and aliens communicate with each other through facial expressions, actions and sound effects. It also does not include any games or puzzles, for the simple reason that they aren’t necessary to keep children engaged in the app.
Have a look:
How the App Works-
Spot has a simple user interface. On each page, there are two main actions: scroll side-to-side to see everything on the screen; and pinch-and-zoom (spread two fingers) on the glowing hotspots to head for a new location. When in doubt, follow the red arrows that appear.
There are five separate kingdoms included in the app, which can be visited in any order. The kingdoms include:
- Mekanikos- where the aliens have landed
- Katzaluna- a world of cats
- Lower Rügg- things that hide under the furniture
- Oceana Prime- creatures from the murky depths
- Bug World-where insects rule
A helpful tutorial for navigating through the app is accessible by pressing the parent/child icon in the upper right corner of the screen. Find the button labeled "Tap for Help" at the bottom of the next screen.
What Fun Educational Apps Liked-
A gifted author/illustrator, Wiesner has taken tablet technology to a whole new level with David Wiesner's Spot. Pages don't turn one by one in linear fashion; instead, the next scene is reached by zooming in on a tiny speck at the center of the page. Just as Alice stumbled into Wonderland by falling down the rabbit hole, children find themselves falling into places they never could have imagined.
Some parents may find it a challenge to “read” a worldless book. The key here is to encourage your child to supply the commentary about what is occurring on the screen. This develops oral language skills, story prediction, and connection with the story. A 32-page Parent & Educator Guide is available separately. It includes a wealth of extension activities and directed questions that adults can use to explore Spot even further with children.
In A Nutshell-
This app is a winner! Unlike any other picture book app I've ever seen, David Wiesner’s Spot redefines what it means to tell a story. It gives children (ages 6-8) an opportunity to view familiar objects in quirky and unexpected new ways and to imagine worlds far different from their own. Its innovative approach and incomparable design make it a TOP PICK for Fun Educational Apps.
David Wiesner's Spot is available for download via the iTunes App Store - iPad
RRP - $3.99/£2.99/€3.99
At the time of this review, Spot provides a safe, secure environment, with no third party ads and no in-app purchases. Access to social media and the iTunes Store is available from the protected parent portal. Parents can be confident their child's privacy is protected when using this app.
Review by Julie Peterson, a speech/language pathologist (SLP) currently working in a school setting, serving children with special needs ages 6 to 14. With so many choices available to parents, my goal is to share accurate information about the apps I review, so that you can make smart choices for your children.
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Disclosure: This review was move up the waiting list priority-services. All opinions expressed are purely that of the author.