Kids Help a Caterpillar Grow
In My Very Hungry Caterpillar, the world imagined in Eric Carle's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar becomes a digital playground where your child and the famous caterpillar frolic. Starting with tapping on an egg to help the caterpillar emerge, kids befriend this larva and nurture its growth over 5 days. This app does not retell the Eric Carle story -- actually, there is no talking in the app, just sounds and music.
How to Play
By tapping their fingers on the screen, kids can get the caterpillar to follow their lead. Fruit trees provide the player with the ability to feed their new friend by plucking fruit off the tree and placing it on the ground. The caterpillar will eat his way through it, leaving a big hole and visually growing in size. As you feed your caterpillar, you will see a food meter at the top of the screen fill up.
A second meter tracks the entertainment you provide your new friend. By using your finger to scroll left and right, new areas for exploration become visible. Your larva friend can take a boat ride on a pond, help you to grow flowers and fruit (to eat, of course), play with toys in his toy box, explore his artistic side by inching through puddles of wet paint, and sway to music as you combine block shapes to make music.
My Very Hungry Caterpillar does a magnificent job of re-creating Eric Carle's world in 3D and expanding it. A big part of the book's visual appeal is the use of large areas of white. The app keeps up that motif, and the effect is that the trees, fruit and other objects appear to pop off the screen.
Young children may need some help getting started with this app. Parents, in the upper right corner is a button that leads you to a movie showing how to play. Once families figure out that the world continues to the left and right and that the caterpillar will follow, the fun begins. Children love to be in charge of their play, and this app provides that opportunity. The Very Hungry Caterpillar follows their finger.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is wonderfully drawn and animated to radiate charm. Watching the caterpillar explore and react to its environment is fun for kids -- especially as they see how the larva reacts to different toys. Watching it head-butt a beach ball and then chase after it delightful. Placing the caterpillar on a swinging vine is a little tricky, but it is joy to watch when you have succeeded.
When the food and entertainment meters fill up, players can lead their leggy charge to a tree stump for some much needed rest. After covering the larva with a leaf, kids see that night occurs, because the screen grows dark. After five days of play, a chrysalis appears. Kids help to break open the chrysalis by lifting off its layers. The transformed pet is wondrous to behold as it beats its beautiful butterfly wings. The new butterfly appears in the next scene as kids find a new egg to tap open and then the cycle repeats.
My Very Hungry Caterpillar works best for children who enjoy exploring a gentle world filled with nature and musical sounds. Its pace is unhurried. This app is not a good fit for kids looking for a lot of action. Parents, you can use this app as a springboard to talking about the life cycle of a caterpillar.
This My Very Hungry Caterpillar app review was written by Jinny Gudmundsen.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.