Pat the App
Given the initial desktop downloads for Pat the Cat and his other phonic friends were released well ahead of the iOS revolution, it was with some due creative satisfaction to finally produce Pat as an app.
With ‘Pat the Cat’ on iPad and iPhone I also wanted to add some unique features made possible by the transition to the iOS platform.
Children can now literally get to grips with the friendly fat cat while they learn the basics of the ‘a’ vowel sound. Now young users can press chunky controls to stop/start or refresh a page; stroke Pat to hear him purr; tap a caterpillar to make them laugh, or even tickle Pat’s feet to make him chortle.
My favourite added feature was the ability for children to record their own voices – so that they may repeat the sentences, and the large vowel and then on tapping these elements hear their voice played back to them. Parental guidance would be required, although I ensured we kept the ‘listen’, ‘say’, and ‘play’ sequence as simple as possible.
The app was awarded a ‘Kirkus Star’ by notable review site Kirkus Reviews, and featured in its top book apps for the year. Kirkus said:
‘Based on the picture book of the same name, this charming app is a flawless combination of music, sound effects, narration and interactive elements.
The experience isn’t merely entertainment, but an excellent tool to help emergent readers identify and practice the sounds and letters that make up words that rhyme with “at.” The star of this entertaining show is a very proper British cartoon cat, Pat, who wears a top hat and who, yes, is fat. “He’s even got fat feet!” says one of the endearing duo of caterpillars that move across the expansive white pages with satisfying clicks and bounce on top of each word as it is voiced. When Tat the Bat and Nat the Rat emerge from inside Pat the Cat’s top hat, more good-natured silliness ensues. The spot-on British narration and the droll, jazzy bass-line accompaniment round out this terrific app. There are a few well-chosen interactive features throughout, including a particularly helpful option for beginning readers to practice by easily recording and playing back their own voices. The only quibble one could possibly have here is with the humor at the expense of the overweight cat, but it is so good-natured (and such an obvious rhyme) that it can be overlooked.
This irresistible app gets everything right, proving that simplicity is sometimes best. (iPad storybook app. 2-7)’
Next in Pat’s evolution is being printed to iBooks very soon and hopefully Android at some point this year. Watch this space, Pat fans!
‘Pat the Cat’ is available for download on iTunes.