My Cat at Home in the Wild is the first book app from children’s author Jennifer Rogala and is based on her print book of the same name. It is accompanied by hand painted illustrations from artist Dwight Kirkland. As well as the story the book also includes some extras- a game, jigsaw puzzles, and information about big cats. The story does not contain any interactive elements- it is more like an eBook, all the interactive elements are in the extras. The story is narrated, there is no “read by myself” option. I really like the background music – it has a slow drumbeat and haunting feel, that reminds me of Native American music. The narration and music can not be switched off without muting the iPad.
The story introduces the reader to a grey tabby named Kingsley. Kingsley is an indoor city cat, but her owner imagines that she dreams of being in the forest, jungle or savannah like her wild cousins. The story tells us not only about Kingsley’s daily life, activities and quirks but also about wild cats who do similar things. e.g. “She climbs the curtains, like a snow leopard climbing the icy mountains of Asia.” At the start of the book each page is accompanied by a painting of Kingsley, as the story progresses many of the illustrations are split screen showing both Kingsley and one of her wild cousins behaving similarly.
I liked the parallels the book draws between wild and domestic cats, the peaceful background music and the hand painted illustrations. I would like to see some options added to support emerging readers- word highlighting as it is read and ability to switch off the narration. I also felt that the narration seemed rushed at times, so I’d like it read at a sightly more relaxed pace. Much as I like the background music it would be good to be able to lower it or switch it off for children who find background music distracting.
In the story children are introduced to a whole range of wild felines including familiar ones and others that may be new to them. If their interest is piqued they can learn more in the “Big Cats” section. This has a picture, information and sound recording for eight types of wild cats featured in the book: lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, pumas, servals and caracals.
The reader is shown a picture of Kingsley from the book and challenged to find the matching picture of a wild cat doing a similar action. This is a fun activity and also acts to reinforce what the reader has learned in the story – the names of the wild cats and their behavior. There are 15 pictures to match.
Each of the 15 pictures can also be enjoyed as a 32 piece puzzle. The pieces automatically are in the correct orientation and click into place when put in the right spot. This is a fun extra but it would be nice to see an option to vary the number of pieces so that it can be enjoyed by a wider age range, as it may be hard for some of the youngest readers.
My Cat at Home in the Wild is designed for children from 4-8 years old. I think it will appeal most to 3-6 year olds, but slightly older animal lovers will also enjoy it. It features Kingsley, a house cat, and a variety of wild felines, and will be a hit with young animal lovers. It features beautiful hand painted illustrations and a haunting background music track. I like how the book shows the parallels between domestic and wild cat behavior. The story does not have any interactivity but does feature an interactive game, puzzles and an opportunity to learn more about wild cats. It would be nice to see some features added to support emerging readers.
This review was originally published by TheiMum.com on March 22, 2016.
The iMums – Amanda, Alison, Mary and Grace – are four mothers from different parts of the world dedicated to educating parents about the best digital stories, educational apps, fun games and technology products available for their children. Founded in August 2011, the four iMums have 11 kids among them ranging in age from 1 to 17 and bring a global perspective to their app reviews with the original iMum Amanda being from Australia, Alison is in America, Grace is from Singapore and Mary is from the UK but is currently living in America. At less than a year old, the Australian-based blog already boasts hundreds of reviews on family friendly iOS and MacOS apps and products
Note to readers: This rating was expedited by the developer for a small fee. The content of the rating/review is the same, but timing of publication has been prioritized.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Jennifer Rogala/Dwight Kirkland
15 - 18 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 8 +
Follow a housecat named Kingsley through her day and see how her actions and instincts are like her big cousins who live in the forests and jungles. Along the way you’ll learn about lions, tigers, leopards. jaguars, cheetahs, cougars, and other wild cats.
My Cat at Home in the Wild is a story and an interactive App.
* Play a matching a game with questions
* Do puzzles
* Hear the sounds of the big cats in the wild.
If you like the App, you’ll love the book.
To order the paperback book or contact Jennifer visit www.JenniferRogala.com
Recommended Ages: 4-8
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