The Collins Big Cat series was created in the past decade by UK based Collins Education, the third-largest educational publishing house in the United Kingdom, and an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. It Was a Cold, Dark Night, based on the print title by Tim Hopgood, was published in 2009. According to the description:
"Ned the hedgehog is looking for a home in the cold, dark forest. He needs somewhere warm and cosy to sleep, but all he keeps finding are other creatures' homes: rabbits', foxes', owls', bats'. Will he ever find a snug safe bed of his own?" [Source: Amazon]
In digital form, this series features light animation and interactivity, along with intuitive navigation. Words highlight word-for word and tapping the screen rewards young fingers with effects that engage but don't distract from the narrative. There is also a section for parents and educators with tips to get more out of reading with young children. The story creation tool is superb as well. It allows children to not only record their own version of this story, but to also create a new scene with images from the story. This could, with adult help, extend this app's educational potential. According to the publisher,
"The perfect way to develop essential literacy skills and transfer good reading to great writing. This book has been carefully levelled for children aged 4+."
Overall, this series is exceptional, with top-notch storybooks paired with an educational tool to create your own books within the app. All the titles are based on a well-loved print series and thoughtfully tailored for the learning needs of emergent readers.
This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Harper Collins Publishers Limited
5 - 8 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 5 - 8 +
Develop your children’s reading and writing skills with It Was a Cold, Dark Night interactive book and Story Creator, from the primary literacy specialists at Collins Education. Also available: The Steam Train and Around the World.
The perfect way to develop essential literacy skills and transfer good reading to great writing. This book has been carefully levelled for children aged 5+.
• An animated, interactive book that brings the story to life
• Audio narration, music and sound effects to aid language learning – read along with the narration as the words are highlighted
• Opportunities to develop speaking and listening skills by recording your own narration and sound effects - perfect for storytelling and to hear progression
• Hidden surprises to discover on every page and a Collins Big Cat quiz to see what you can remember
• Transfer reading to writing using Story Creator: make your own book using pictures, characters and key vocabulary from the story, transforming readers into writers
• Practical guidance for adults helping children to develop their reading, writing and communication skills
It was a long winter night, and Ned the hedgehog was looking for a home. Does he live down a big hole? Does he live in a tree? As leaves fall to the forest floor and stars twinkle in the night sky, help Ned find a warm place to sleep for the winter.
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Stay updated with all of our Collins Big Cat apps – visit www.collinsbigcat.com
ABOUT COLLINS BIG CAT:
This popular reading series is used and trusted by over 9000 UK primary schools, as well as English-speaking schools all over the world. Now available on the App Store for the first time, we’ve brought the quality that teachers, parents and children have come to expect to our digital versions of the books.