Helping My Dad – Little Critter and Just Grandpa and Me – Little Critter are charming apps adapted from the storybooks of the same name, now developed by Oceanhouse Media – great choices for Father’s Day.

In these tales, Little Critter tries hard to be helpful to his loved ones although he is unaware of the mess he makes in the wake of his helpfulness.

In Helping My Dad, Little Critter tries his best to take care of his father, creating more work for him along the way as kids are known to do, such as waking him up early on dad’s day off or making breakfast, causing terrible disarray in the kitchen.

Little Critter tries to cut the grass but the lawn mower gets away from him, destroying planted flowers, washes the family car with the windows open, tries to spray paint the house a random color and attempts to remove a bees’ nest by swinging at it with a baseball bat. Little Critter even helps “test” a new hammer at a hardware store, each time being unaware of the problems for others he is causing.

Parents as well as children can certainly relate to Little Critter trying his best to be helpful before he is really capable, and I love the tender way his dad deals with all these situations with good nature and kindness.

This title is a more modern Little Critter formatted like a “My First I Can Read” book, with the text found to the side of the page away from the illustrations in order to make these words stand out without distraction as well as to focus on creating easy-to-read sentences with carefully chosen words. Parents may also notice fewer details within the illustrations – not something that will be a concern to children.

Just Grandpa and Me is a classic Mercer Mayer story as Little Critter takes a trip into the city to a large department store to buy a suit – a slightly dated premise that will come across as lovingly sentimental for some parents who remember these types of trips that they may have experienced in their own childhood.

Nevertheless, children of all ages will be able to relate to Little Critter as he sings loudly on the train, makes the most of the store’s revolving door, momentarily losing Grandpa and making a mess of the suit choices that Little Critter browses through, all to the annoyance of those around Little Critter, who is oblivious to others.

Parents may enjoy these tales even more than their children as parents can relate to children as they come across as self-absorbed during these early years.

The illustrations in this story are wonderful, full of details that will delight as Little Critter is on his big city adventure. Parents can also use the included sideway glances Little Critter receives while causing a mess or being a distraction to explain to children social mores and how to behave when in public.

I can remember as a child at the local amusement park, there was a sign which read “missing parents” as from the lost child’s view they are not lost; it is their parents who are. This is the kind of delightful point-of-view found within the Little Critter titles – always relatable, humorous and fun on a variety of levels.

Also note the hidden creatures within these apps be it spider, mouse or grasshopper, details found in these titles that translates well to a simple seek and find game.

Each of these titles includes the chance to listen to excellent child-read narration in these first-person storybooks, to read this book to oneself, or to view this book in Auto Play where the pages turn by themselves. A menu of pages is also included, and it is especially nice that one can make one’s own recordings as well as share them with others who also have access to the same applications.

As many may know, word and picture associations are a big part of Oceanhouse Media‘s applications, allowing children to tap on an object or character to see the corresponding word printed on the screen as well as to hear it spoken by narration – an option that can now be turned off as can the sound effects.

Little Critter apps are uniformly marvelous first readers as they contain short easy-to-read sentences that are well-written and never come across as childish or condescending – an issue I have had with other early readers. Also nice is the ability either to follow along with highlighted text or to read if a word or paragraph is tapped.

These titles would make wonderful apps to enjoy for Father’s Day, as they focus on these familial relationships with great humor and tenderness.

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