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. Playing, based on the print title by Tim Hopgood, was published in 2010. According to the description:
"It's fun to play outside, and these three children enjoy it in all seasons, summer, autumn, winter and spring - whatever the weather! Each season is evocatively illustrated by Tim Hopgood - 2008 winner of Booktrust's Best Emerging Illustrator Award, developing the text and encouraging discussion." [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
6 - 10 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 8 +
Develop your children’s reading and writing skills with the Collins Big Cat interactive book app and Story Creator series, from the primary literacy specialists at Collins Education. 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+.
•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 over time
•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.
We like playing in the rain, the wind, the snow and the mud. Where do you like playing? Read along as three children play outside whatever the weather. Written and illustrated by the award-winning Tim Hopgood, this story has a predictable story and patterned language to support early readers.