Series: Little Critter

Released: Sept. 12, 2011

"Overall, this Little Critter app benefits from deeper interactive features as well as improved character and voice work over earlier iterations. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)"
The physical characteristics of Mayer's guinea pig-like Little Critter characters may not be evolving much, but the apps based on their books are. This 20-year-old take on the Grimm fairy tale is translated into a much richer experience than such previous iPad adaptations of his amusing storybooks as Just Grandma and Me, developed by Oceanhouse Media (2010). Read full book review >

Mercer Mayer's Little Critter visits the beach with his grandmother, who, like all of Critter's family, has plenty of patience for his good-natured mischief. When Little Critter—who looks like a hairy hamster—drops hot dogs in the sand, he helpfully washes them off in ocean water, among other mishaps. Mayer's books are typically crammed with peripheral characters, humorous and clever illustrative details and diverting background text (signs, recurring pet characters) to keep parents occupied as they read. The iPad app is no exception. It adds sound effects, first-person narration that captures Little Critter's obliviousness to the mayhem he wreaks and the ability to have words read aloud when objects and characters are tapped. (Unfortunately, some of these are mislabeled; one hopes they will be corrected in future versions, but for the time being, adults should be ready to correct the errors for their children.) There's also an embedded game: At the end of the story, the app tallies up the number of times readers have found and tapped on the spider and grasshopper that hide in each frame. The oft-adapted story—it's been, among other things, an MS-DOS CD-ROM game and a "Living Book" in the years since its original 1983 publication—still holds up. The graphics, page turning and read-along options work well to deliver a harmless, affectionate tale of a kid's day out with his grandmother. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)Read full book review >