The timeless children’s book that introduced tactile interactions with a furry bunny has made a surprisingly strong leap to the digital age.
Originally produced in 1940, the book Pat the Bunny has been an iconic “first book” for generations. The friendly pastel colors and simple, easy to learn text invites young readers to feel a sandpaper beard, play peek-a-boo with a piece of cloth, and even smell scented flowers. The title has been crossed over to the iPhone and iPad, and your kids can no longer feel the textures or smell the flowers the app is still incredibly interactive for only $4.99 on Apple’s App Store.
While the app is available for both the iPhone and iPad, Pat the Bunny really shines on the larger screen. The iPhone version works, but it is difficult for young kids to use the touch interactions when compared to the iPad version and the iPad versions has much more happening on screen.
The Pat the Bunny app is not a reproduction of the book and the development team leaves out the pages in the book that rely solely on touch. The adaptation is done wonderfully however and the bunny is an actual character now that your child will interact with along with Paul and Judy. All in all, there are 14 “pages” or scenes that your child can access from the home screen that showcase the classic peek-a-boo with Paul introduction, as well as new additions like Bunny in the kitchen or breaking a piñata.
Every page offers multiple interactions that are triggered by your child touching the right objects on screen and they are introduced in a very pleasing manner by the narration. While often overlooked by children’s book apps, the narration stands out for Pat the Bunny; it is relaxed and calming and offers the right queues at the right time for you and your child. Of course you probably want to read to your child, or have them practice their reading, so Pat the Bunny gives you the option to turn off the narration altogether. As an added bonus Pat the Bunny even gives you the option of recording your own narration for your child. This was a great addition when I had to be gone from home for a month and my toddler could still hear my voice every evening.
This last Easter an update was made to Pat the Bunny in which little Easter eggs were hidden on each page and add a cut scene when they were found. This was a great surprise for my child starting off, but unfortunately it quickly got old and took away from the story. The eggs are too easy to accidentally touch, especially for children wandering fingers, and the cut scene cannot be interrupted, nor can you turn off the Easter eggs. There have been a number of complaints about this so do not be surprised if it is addressed shortly.
The Easter egg update is the only problem that the Pat the Bunny app has. Other than that, it is a very well rounded children’s app that offers (seemingly) endless hours of entertainment. As an added bonus you can turn on the “paint” setting which makes the story black and white and adds the appropriate colors where your child touches. These kind of additions help to keep the app feeling new even and exciting for your kids. Children around 18 months seem to be able to enjoy this app with your help, and they can grow with it up into their toddler years.