Who doesn’t love a bit of Dr. Seuss in their lives? Just like the Muppets, characters from the Dr. Seuss books are colorful, quirky and completely unforgettable. If you don’t have “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” playing on a loop every holiday season, you need to start familiarizing yourself with Whoville, stat!
There are so many legendary stories written by Dr. Seuss that it’s hard to pick a favorite. When you start to remember them, such titles as “Green Eggs and Ham,” “Fox in Socks,” “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” and “The Lorax” will no doubt spring into your noggin.
There is Seuss Landing at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure; loads of Thing 1 and Thing 2 T-shirts for sale in almost every mall you enter in the U.S.; and several films of the books have been made, from the excellent Mr. Grinch animated feature and “Horton Hears a Who!” to the unfortunately heinous live-action “The Cat in the Hat” with a no doubt grateful-to-be-unrecognizable Mike Myers in the lead role.
Dr. Seuss the author may have passed away in 1991, but his characters and legacy are still very much alive in the public consciousness.
I have always loved his work, particularly “The Cat in the Hat,” so how could I resist when I saw that there was an app of the same name available in the App Store? It was going to cost me $4.99, so I had to rifle around the back of the couch to find some coinage, but it wasn’t long before I had it downloaded on my iPad, ready to go.
How it works
If you’ve used an interactive book app before, you’ll be ahead of the game with this one. You’ll know it isn’t just about the words and the story – there are hidden items everywhere, and tapping over the screen like a mad Schnozzwaggler should reveal most of them.
When you start it up, it will make sure that the volume is on. If it isn’t, the app will remind you to turn up the sound.
The opening screen is just as it is in the book: two children looking out through the window of a house at a rainy landscape. Immediately the narrator’s voice reads the words on the page, highlighting them as he goes. You’ll hear the rain falling and see the tree with blue leaves gently blowing in the wind.
You can now tap each word and hear it pronounced, or tap on the tree, bird in the tree, house, chimney and anything else you see, to have its name announced. I’ll give you another hint: you should find a star somewhere that will trigger another hidden game. The woman who bursts vocally onto the scene when you get that star, and leads you through the game, is probably one of the cheeriest people you’ve heard in your life. Like Cindy Lou Who times a million. The narrator is no miserable slouch either.
Once you’ve exhausted all the wonders to be found on that page, you can move on to the next by tapping on the arrow in the top right-hand corner. Again, the words will be read out for you and then it’s your job to discover things, along with another star. Don’t forget to try tapping and swiping. For example, that ball over there may just be able to move across the room if you help it along.
By the third page, the lady isn’t going to remind you to look for that star any more. Either she’s assuming you’ve picked up what to do by now, or she’s on a restricted pay grade. You’ll only hear her when you go to play the hidden games activated by the star.
It isn’t long before the Cat in the Hat shows up and merriment ensues, much to the horror of the fish in the bowl. That fish needs to lighten up.
When you tap on the open book symbol at the top middle of the screen, you’ll find that you can jump ahead to other pages. You can also choose to adjust the app settings by tapping on the cog symbol over on the left. This allows you to read the book yourself instead of having the narrator do it for you, and to turn features on and off like “Learning Activities,” “Music & Sound,” “News & Alerts” and “Picture Words.” You can also reset the hints and the learning activities here.
When I tried it
I really liked the sound effects and the nice amount of interactive features the app offered. I was also embarrassed at how excited I was to get one of the educational games correct. I won’t give you the answer as I’m sure you’ll be using this app after me. Let’s just say that I certainly know what to take outside when it’s raining. That’s all you’re getting.
I probably would have had more fun with it if my nephews had been around, but regardless, I could still absolutely recognize the benefits and joy to be had by using this app.
Dr. Seuss never really got it wrong. Even his most bonkers, out-there books were still lots of fun to read, and The Cat in the Hat is a classic.
The price may seem a little lofty, but really, perhaps we’re all being spoiled by getting amazing apps on the cheap. Just think of what you would pay for the book, and this app offers a much more enhanced way to enjoy the story.
So don’t be a Wozzbanger, a Hoodoodler, a Grunchsnooter or a Snarlblaster. Download this app, get the children to sit, and read them a story, they won’t soon fergit!
Worth it for the memories alone. Nice amount of features. The Cat.
- Mummy and Daddy may want the narrators to ratchet down the cheer a touch.
- The Cat in the Hat – Read & Learn – Dr. Seuss
- Cost: $4.99 Seller: Oceanhouse Media
- Devices: iOS and Android
- Rating: E for Everyone