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Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2012

There's No Place Like Space!: All About Our Solar System

Cat in the Hat takes kids to space, minimal interaction for a book app

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K-2 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Interactive pictures help teach vocabulary and sight words.

Cons: Kids used to reading books on e-devices might be disappointed in the minimal interaction within the book.

Bottom Line: There's No Place Like Space! combines solid literacy building with age-appropriate space science lessons.

Use the interactive book as a whole-class reading, for reading groups, or for individual exploration. The beauty of interactive e-books is their versatility. There's No Place like Space could be used in a unit on space or as an individual activity for kids interested in space. Kids can choose their own vocabulary from the bolded words, or teachers can assign words from the book for kids to learn. The mnemonic for memorizing the planets in order from the Sun would be fun to incorporate into rug-time. Since the book mixes non-fiction information with fiction characters, classes could discuss the elements of each genre as they are represented in the book.

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Editor's Note: This product is no longer available.

There's No Place Like Space is an interactive book in Seuss style told by the Cat in the Hat along with the familiar characters Thing 1, Thing 2, Dick, and Sally. (Students who watch the PBS television show, The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot about That, may notice that the boy character in the book is the same as the original book and is different from the boy in the show.) The Cat and his friends explore space, learning new vocabulary as well as facts about space. Kids can read the book themselves or can have the words read to them. Compared to many interactive books, there's not much for kids to play with on each page. They can tap the images and see the written word for the object or they can select the bolded words and see a definition. Kids are in control of turning to the next page by tapping the arrow.

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The book includes a fun mnemonic sentence to help kids remember the order of the planets from the Sun -- Mallory Valerie Emily Mickels just saved up nine hundred ninety-nine nickels! Though the characters match the original Seuss book, they lack the diversity of the characters of Nick and Sally on PBS's television program. Kids can learn the names of constellations, too, tapping stars to draw the lines and tapping again for the common names to appear. They can read a bit about the moon landing and learn space-related vocabulary like astronaut and lunar rover in addition to the names of planets. They learn about viewing the sky through a telescope, too, but you may want to explain that some parts of the story are fictionalized, like taking Things 1 and 2 out to dinner on Mars. Since kids can listen to the book being read or read it themselves and get help with unknown words by tapping them, it works well for a wide-range of reading levels. Advanced readers can even record themselves reading the book aloud.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

Compared to many kids' e-books, there is not much for kids to explore beyond vocabulary words.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

The interactive vocabulary is effective for teaching vocabulary in context, and the content is high-interest for kids.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
2

The interface is very easy to navigate and doesn't need much help. No evaluation of learning is included, and no data is kept.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher