Gears and Cats: a Winning Combination

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Kalley’s Machine Plus Cats ($2.99 iPad/iPhone) is a fun little story with great graphics and interactivity.

A little girl named Kalley has invented a marvelous machine. On each screen, she shows her father different parts of the machine, each one interactive. You can pull the levers, push the buttons, use the puffer and the smasher, paint things different colors (and combine primary colors to create secondary colors), and sort things into different bins. Kalley’s father thinks all of this is wonderful, but he’s baffled by the point of all this machinery. The little girl finally explains that this machine makes food so that her father won’t have to go to work, but can stay home with her. Sadly, her father explains to her that he works for more than just the ability to purchase food. In reply, Kalley proclaims that she’ll just make machines to do those things too!

The good:

·        The interactivity is pretty fabulous. There’s enough stuff here to keep kids playing with it for a long time, and it’s sneakily educational.

·        Background music and narration are optional.

·        It’s easy to navigate, and there are no ads or in-app purchases.

·        It features a girl as the engineer and conveys the message that kids have the power to create things to improve their lives.

The disappointing:

·        The “puffers” and “shrinkers” on the app are not intuitive at all.  They require that you hold them down in order to do their thing.  This does enable you to control how much you puff or shrink something, but it's different than the way the rest of the app works.

·        Some of the word choices were irritating, particularly when the girl tells her father, “It stamps shapes of the things that you choosed.”

Overall, this is a fun little story app, perfect for younger elementary students. The interactivity will keep kids busy discovering and playing.