The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends - First Words

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends - First Words App Poster Image
Eric Carle faves teach vocab in English and other languages.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn words in a variety of languages through exploration and a question/answer format. Though the words are clustered into categories on each page, the lack of narrative might make the words less memorable; however, Eric Carle's illustrations likely will keep kids coming back, which will increase helpful repetition. The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends - First Words is a versatile interactive book that can be used with toddlers learning a first language or kids of any age learning other languages.

Ease of Play

Navigation is generally easy for little fingers, but swiping to the next page not as smooth as tapping arrow.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Logo link to other apps appears on home page but can be disabled in settings.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends - First Words is a mash-up of Eric Carle illustrations in a digital pop-up book that teaches words. Language options include English, Spanish, French, simplified Chinese, and German, so the book app can be used with toddlers learning a first language or with any age learning new languages. Though the interface is easy enough that preschoolers could use it on their own, the parent section explains that it's designed to be explored by kids and parents together.

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What's it about?

THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR & FRIENDS - FIRST WORDS presents a wide variety of animals, insects, food, and people in the familiar Eric Carle style. Words are in groups thematically on a page and include insects, farm animals, family members, clothing, and so on. Kids tap the picture to see the word in print and hear it pronounced, though the read-aloud can be turned off. Up to two languages can be selected at once, with the first tap saying the word in one language and the second in the other. Once the book has been read all the way, kids can quiz themselves on their new knowledge, following instructions and tapping the designated picture.

Is it any good?

Carle's bright colors and vivid illustrations translate beautifully to the touch screen, so kids will be engaged and excited to encounter the familiar animals and characters from the books. Parents will appreciate the variety of language choices that can teach common words in several languages. The conversational quiz gives kids a chance to practice the words they've learned. There's no narrative structure to the activities, though, so there's no context for the words kids are learning. Also, swiping from one page to the next is clunkier than tapping the arrow, which is less intuitive for kids. Overall, this is a simple, solid tool for learning words.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what they see and what they're doing to encourage verbal skills in preschoolers and toddlers (or language learners).

  • Read to kids to develop their vocabulary. Choose a wide variety of books that excite and interest them.

  • Use The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends - First Words with older kids to help them learn words in other languages.

App details

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