A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that David Wiesner's Spot is an interactive book with no written story. Kids start by zooming in on the dot of a ladybug, which then transforms into something else. They continue to explore by pinching, zooming, swiping, and tapping their way through a series of five worlds filled with imaginative characters and beautiful imagery. There is no set path for kids' travels, but as they continue, an overall story may start to emerge. This app is best enjoyed together so you can talk about what kids are seeing. A companion guide for teachers and parents also is available. It's called David Wiesner's Spot: A Parent & Educator Guide, and it has background information, videos, and prompts for helping kids make the most of the title.
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What's it about?
Fans of David Wiesner's book Flotsam will feel right at home in this strange but compelling visual journey. DAVID WIESNER'S SPOT invites you to look closer and closer into a world inhabited by a colony of cats, a myriad of brightly colored bugs, some charming robots, schooling fish, and a family of alien tourists. The story is up to you to discover, or imagine, but it involves zooming into objects as they transform into new places. What lives under the chair? If you look closely at a chocolate-chip cookie, what will you find? What about a pencil? There are five worlds to explore, and each one has portals to the others.
Is it any good?
David Wiesner's Spot is an innovative pairing of technology and natural curiosity and creativity. It takes advantage of kids' desire to look closer and ask questions, all while providing a beautiful landscape in which to do it, and kids will definitely be excited to explore. It stops just short of being amazing, though. You can zoom in and out, but there are very few clickable hot spots with resulting animation. This may have been deliberate on the part of the author, but once the kids understand that the goal is to explore, they end up doing a lot of tapping to see what will happen. It's disappointing to delve deeper and deeper, only to end up on a static image before having to retreat to look elsewhere. Just a bit more animation would take it from intriguing to delightful. Also, though the pinch/zoom dynamic makes sense, it's a difficult motor skill for young kids and a tedious one for adults. A toggle to allow people to tap on the hot spots would be friendlier. Though it doesn't bring quite as much replay value as it could, this lovely app is a wonderful addition to a virtual library, especially paired with the guide for parents.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the technology involved. Are there other books that would be fun to explore this way? If you were to write a book that would work like this, what would it be about?
Kids: Which of the worlds is your favorite? Why? If you were to take a vacation there, which sorts of things would you do?
Discuss the embedded story. How are the worlds connected? Which objects represent each world? Which signs and symbols in your life represent other destinations? Which object or symbol would you choose to represent your home or your bedroom?
- Device: iPad
- Subjects: Language & Reading: storytelling
- Skills: Creativity: imagination
- Price: $4.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: April 12, 2015
- Category: Books
- Topics: Bugs, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Ocean Creatures, Space and Aliens
- Size: 299.00 MB
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Version: 1.1
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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