Curious George’s Dictionary (iPad only) by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt was originally released as a printed book several years ago, but has recently been re-imagined for the touch screen. In the new iPad app, children are introduced to almost six hundred words by the lovable Curious George and the Man with the Yellow Hat. Children learn the meaning of words through illustrations, spoken word, full sentences and stories, and can easily navigate the app with simple swipes and taps.
The main “Alphabet” section includes illustrations of each letter, along with nearly six hundred words and sentences that incorporates many of the highlighted words. All letters, words and sentences are illustrated, including many by Mary O’Keefe Young – the illustrator of the Curious George books since 2004.
Each letter and word is narrated, though unfortunately none of the sentences in the Alphabet section include narration beyond the featured word on each page. While some may view the missing narration as an oversight, it’s actually a fantastic opportunity for parents to interact with the app by reading the sentences together with their children.
In addition to the Alphabet section, also included are several short stories: George’s Birthday, George’s Friends, George at the Beach, and More Words. The stories are centered around George using his dictionary, and each is illustrated and fully narrated. Curious George’s Dictionary also contains several smaller learning sections: Numbers, Quantities, Colors & Shapes, and Opposites. These smaller learning sections are structured similarly to the Alphabet section of the app, but contain only a handful of definitions on each topic.
According to the developer, the content reflects recent research in early childhood literacy, and even includes multiple definitions for many words like “wave” and “can” which are listed and illustrated as both a verb and noun.
While Curious George’s Dictionary is lacking any animation which is increasingly common in iPad books for children, the shear amount of content coupled with the obvious educational upsides makes this a definite educational winner for both parents and children. For those that already know and love Curious George, this app will quickly become a favorite.