The Trip Little Critter Reading Adventure is a fun, interactive storybook app based on Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter’s The Trip, with versions for both iPad as well as iPhone available through iTunes.
This new application, developed by Silver Dolphin, differs greatly from - and should not be confused with - the straightforward adaptation of Little Critter stories developed by another company.
It is worth explaining to readers that the original Mercer Mayer title focuses on a car trip to a camp site as told in pictures. Yet the text, although also telling the tale of this long family outing, included a heavy use of alphabet letters, from A to Z, such as B for Bags and C for Car, as well as words adults can relate to, possibly even more than their children can, such as E for the car’s engine overheating, letter M for the mess the Critter kids made in the back of the car, or T for the flat tire they get along the way, creating a witty alphabet book enjoyable for all - children and parents alike.
Here, The Trip Little Critter Reading Adventure includes two sections - the Reading Adventure where children can follow along with highlighted narration and simply reading this app like a book.
In the Reading Adventure, Little Critter himself narrates this tale of a family trip to the lake. Those familiar with the published title will note the many original illustrations included within as well as the lack of the alphabet elements seen in the direct telling of this story. Instead, one will notice the abundance of items one can tap on within each page, each marked with color-coded dots, denoting the type of interaction available.
Blue dots include added animated moments and added lines of dialogue spoken directly by the characters that nicely propel the story along as well as other details, whereas orange hotspots are alphabet flash cards, bringing the alphabet element back into this story. Green dots are objects one can collect in Little Critter’s back pack - important details that one needs to collect as they will be used later in the story to continue on, but the included map will let readers know what page to check out if a needed object was not collected the first time around.
I really enjoy the animated moments which work seamlessly within Mayer’s colorful, classic illustrations. Another interesting inclusion is a choice of driving through the country or city, allowing children to make this choice with the aid of the map that one can tap on to choose which route to take - first during the outing - as well as using this map as a page selector - always a nice choice.
Other interactive elements are included within these different destinations, such as offering an apple from a nearby tree to encourage a horse to leave the road after placing the apple in and then retrieving it from the backpack.
A few fun educational mini-games are also included such as matching colored cars to their matching color words or a food-themed sequencing game that adds even more content to this engaging children’s application.
Children will love the abundance of items to tap on and to collect for later. I am happy to say that the style Mayer delivered in the published title is alive and well in this new app as well as a new scene of the family visiting the beach.
It is also worth noting that a related app, The Trip Little Critter GamePak, is also available for purchase for both iPad as well as iPhone and includes a series of story-themed actives - also an app worth checking out.