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THE TRIP by Mercer Mayer


Little Critter Reading Adventure

by Mercer Mayer & illustrated by Mercer Mayer & developed by Silver Dolphin Books

Age Range: 5 - 7

Pub Date: March 19th, 2013
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books

Little Critter, Little Sister and their parents take a meandering trip to Lake Wakatookee in this busy app.

Each page opens with the narrator reading a few lines of text, and then interactions are unlocked. Touching color-coded hotspots triggers animations, loads Little Critter’s backpack, rereads text and brings up alphabet flashcards (“R. Raccoon. Raccoon begins with R”). Once all of the hotspots have been explored, readers can advance to the next screen and are occasionally prompted to choose the route. It’s a predictably circuitous and eventful trip, including an overheated engine, a stop at an ice cream stand and an inexplicable detour to the beach. Animations that open and close each page and tap-activated dialogue (“How do you spell pineapple?” queries Mom pedantically. “It’s a compound word: pine apple.” “Moo-oom!” protest the kids) supplement the bare-bones plot. Indeed, so much is going on, what with interactions and animations, it’s a good thing there’s so little to the actual story. Six additional games punctuate the journey; completing them all successfully unlocks a “fun surprise.” The app is not for readers who wish to blaze through, instead rewarding lingerers amply. (There is a static “Just Read” mode for those who wish to bypass the extra doodads.)

By the end, readers may be as exhausted as Little Critter’s beleaguered dad, who does all the driving, natch, but they will feel like they’ve done something. (iPad storybook app. 5-7)