Just Grandpa and Me - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Just Grandpa & Me by Mercer Mayer was one of the first Little Critter books, published in print in 1983. In this title, Little Critter needs a new suit, so his mom and grandfather take him shopping. Grandpa seems to get in as much trouble with mom as Little Critter does, making for fun mischief with masterful storytelling. The digital version of this book also adds a new twist, keeping track as the reader tries to find all the little grasshoppers and spiders hidden on nearly every page.

Many readers have asked, "What kind of animal is Little Critter?" According to Wikipedia, Mercer Mayer did not specify which type of animal the Little Critter is, but, "he resembles Read more …

Just Grandma and Me - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media

Just Grandma and Me by Mercer Mayer was published in print in 1983. It is a beloved story about 'Little Critter' and a trip he takes with Grandma to the beach. He is a cheery companion as he 'helps' by washing the sand off her hot dog in the ocean. He also almost blows away with the beach umbrella and gets to bury Grandma in the sand. She shows good cheer and tireless patience with her favorite little guy.

Many readers have asked, "What kind of animal is Little Critter?" According to Wikipedia, Mercer Mayer did not specify which type of animal the Little Critter is, but, "he resembles a hedgehog, hamster or guinea pig." So, basically he's a rodent ... although a Read more …

Love You Back! by Umesh shukla

Based on a 2011 print title by the same name, Love You Back! is a love story written from a little girl to her grandmother. Reflecting on the tender care her grandma gave her when she was little, the girl in the story says, "Now your days are longer ... and mine are too short. The times that we meet are further apart, but grandma I come to you to say with my whole heart, I love you back!"

My own paternal grandmother passed away just two weeks ago and this title hit me in the gut, making me wish I had thanked her more before she was unable to recognize me. The touching care we give to our elderly loved ones is such a wonderful subject for a storybook and makes for a perfect read for Read more …

Heidi on the Alp by JustKidsApps - Katrin Draemann Barothy

Heidi Part I is a digital retelling of the classic Heidi story. In the first app, one of three (all now available through iTunes), Heidi is brought at the age of six to stay with her reclusive grandfather high in the Alps. She lives with him long enough to soften the old man, becoming quite close to him and Peter, the goat-herd. At the end of this book, we are left wondering, "What will happen to Heidi now that her aunt has come back to get her?"

As a digital book, this title is very solidly made, with easy 'swipe' style page turning, nice sound-quality and simple settings for reading with or without narration. There is, however, no way to navigate within the pages of the book. The Read more …

You're Only Old Once by Oceanhouse Media

You're Only Old Once is told in classic Seuss rhyme, tackling the topic of aging in a funny, irreverent way. The old man in the book is poked and prodded by various specialists with funny instruments and little regard for the patient's dignity. It is a book that children will enjoy but the real target audience is adults, particular those facing age with a sense of humor.

This was one Dr. Seuss's last books, published in 1986. The print version was subtitled, "A Book for Obsolete Children" and this is an apt description. It is a whimsical take on getting old with an emphasis on the the medical testing we can all look forward to if our health is good enough to live into old age. It Read more …

Milly, Molly and the Bike Ride HD by Kiwa Media

Milly, Molly and the Bike Ride is one of the "Milly, Molly" books based on a popular educational series from New Zealand. These children's books have been published in print since 2000. They are about the adventures of two little girls from different ethnic backgrounds and often include their multi-cultural friends. The series has the tag line, "We may look different but we feel the same.” See the youtube clip at the bottom of this review to hear the theme song.

The print version of this title, published in 2005, is listed under the topic 'self-improvement' and focuses on the quality of "punctuality". In the story, Milly & Molly are taking a bike ride to one of the Read more …

The Kissing Hand by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Based on the 1993 print title, this is an exceptional book app. It stands out not only for its digital charms, but for the role the story has played in comforting young children dealing with separation anxiety for two decades. This Oceanhouse Media title tells the tale of young Chester, a raccoon who is feeling nervous about going to school. "Please may I stay with you?" he begs his mother. She tells him about all the wonderful experiences and friendships he will make at school, but also responds to Chester's heartbreaking plea, sharing a 'secret' he can cherish even when he is far away from home.

The story is well crafted and beautifully imagined in illustrated form. A touching Read more …

Little Critter Collection #1 by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

An exceptional new app for young readers (with ten books in one) is now available from Oceanhouse Media! This is the digital version of the print books, released from 1975 through 1992, by Mercer Mayer.

This collection includes the following digital titles (click on the title to link to our review):

The New Baby

Just Me and My Mom

Just Grandma and Me

I Was So Mad

All By Myself

I Just Forgot

Me Too!

When I Get Bigger

The New Potty

Just For You

These titles have been beloved for years in print and get a new life in digital, including educational enhancements. For the read-a-long effect, each word is highlighted as it is read. Tap on any word to hear it spoken, even in the Read more …

Just A Day at the Pond - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
Just A Day at the Pond - Little Critter by Mercer Mayer is one of the "New Adventures" with Little Critter and his family, published in print in 2008. In this title, Little Critter and his family visit their grandparents where they spend a day at the pond. Featuring a swimming hole, fishing and lots of pond life like frogs. The digital version of this book also adds a new twist, keeping track as the young reader tries to find all 24 of the little mice and spiders hidden on nearly every page.
Many readers have asked, "What kind of animal is Little Critter?" According to Wikipedia, Mercer Mayer did not specify which type of animal the Little Critter is, but, "he resembles a Read more …
Mr. Wolf and the Ginger Cupcakes - kids storybook by Lucia Masciullo

'Red Hood' is a little girl who is on her way to Grandma's in Mr. Wolf and the Ginger Cupcakes. The story follows the initial plot of the familiar story of Little Red Riding Hood. The wolf even seems rather mischievous. But the similarities to the familiar, and rather gruesome folktale, end there.

The wolf in this story is a vegetarian and distracts Grandma with a free bingo ticket so he can challenge the little girl to a chess match. Just as Mr. Wolf wins at chess (and is about to devour his earned reward of ginger cupcakes), a passing entomologist bursts in to discover the pair. The scientist and the reader then simultaneously discover that nothing scarier than ginger crumbs is going Read more …

My Dad Drives a Roller Coaster Car by Crab Hill Press LLC

From Crab Hill Press, this delightful storybook app has everything a great picture book needs. Whether in digital or print, every children's title really is defined by the story & illustrations; on those merits, this title simply sings. A fun tale is presented, made just for the tablet, but it stakes its claim on success with the oldest trick in the book ... an engaging narrative.

A little boy tells the story in the first person, explaining that his dad drives a 'roller coaster car' and he wants to drive one too. His mom rides a carousel horse, his uncle rides a rocket, his aunt rides a spinning 'teacup' and even grandpa has fun, riding a log from the amusement park to get Read more …

Land of Mislaid, an interactive children's story by YipYip

In Land of Mislaid by developer YipYip, Hannah is spending time with her grandpa when she realizes that her peppermint has gone missing. Grandpa, who may be covering the fact that he ate her peppermint, suggests that the candy decided to travel to the Land of Mislaid. They then take an imaginative journey, interacting with various characters created from items lying around the living room. A teapot, cups, spoons, and lamps all help direct the travelers through their journey. I will not spoil how the story ends, but it is a unique and imaginative tale.

Like most book apps, this one offers the option of text only or having the narration read aloud. There is no Auto Play option, Read more …

I Don't Like Pink HD by PicPocket Books

This sweet book from author/illustrator Brooks Jones is about a little girl who just doesn't like pink. It features original music and delightful narration by the author herself. The illustrations are crisp and colorful, featuring a little girl and her friend using speech bubbles for all of the dialogue.

When Gabi's grandmother sends her a pink t-shirt as a present, she feels really mad. Her friend (a little boy) actually likes pink, so Gabi decides to give the shirt to her friend. He gives her his blue shirt, since blue is actually a color Gabi really likes a lot (it makes her want to fly she says, while pink just makes her mad). This cute exchange is followed up by several nice discussion Read more …

I Can Do It Too! HD by Take 2 Ventures LLC

This short but sweet picture book app by Karen Baicker is aimed at very young readers and listeners, featuring a young African-American girl and her family. It is based on a well-loved print title, published in 2003, followed by a board book version in 2010. With just a few tappable sounds, PicPocket Books has created a faithful digital retelling, with all the charm of a classic picture book. The little girl narrates the story in the first person, sharing scenes with each of her family members, from mom and dad, siblings, grandparents, her uncle, plus friends and neighbors. Each scene shows the older person doing something 'big' like pouring juice, zipping clothes, cooking, Read more …

Flight of the Pamplemousse by Whynoceros LLC

Flight of the Pamplemousse is an original iPad tale told in rhyming verse about a boy who dreams about a mythical creature called the "Pamplemousse". He overhears a story half in French that includes a reference to grapefruit or 'pamplemousse' while he is falling asleep, causing him to imagine a fanatastic adventure with a giant Moose-like creature with wings.

This night-time dreaming adventure features beautiful, although almost hypnotic, narration in a crisp British accent. The story may be over many of the youngest readers heads, although my Kindergartner understood it best when I read it to him aloud with different pacing and emphasis, asking questions along the way. The app also Read more …

Fable: The Lion and The Hare by Green Broccoli, LLC

This delightful fable is told with a modern twist. The story starts with two kids in Chicago waiting for their grandparents to arrive from India. The grandfather brings the "Panchatantra" to share with his grandkids. It is a collection of Indian fables retold the world over, with stories about animals that teach many lessons. In this tale, a hare outsmarts a fierce lion by tricking him into thinking another lion is in a well. The lion dives after his foe, leaving the forest safe for the animals.

The illustrations are bright and colorful, featuring modern scenes from a suburban Chicago home, mixed with more traditional pictures of the story "The Lion & the Hare". The book Read more …

Fable: The Doves and The Hunter HD by Green Broccoli, LLC

This is another tale from the traditional "Panchatantra" told with a modern twist. The story starts with two kids in Chicago spending summer vacaction with their grandparents who are visiting from India. They head to the park to play and have a picnic. After eating, Grandpa offers to tell a story while they are feeding a flock of birds near a park bench.

The tale of The Doves and the Hunter comes from a collection of Indian fables retold the world over, with stories about animals that teach many lessons. In this tale, a hunter uses a large net to trap a flock of doves. The the king of the doves stays calm and suggests the flock all fly up in unison. The flock gets away and then lands Read more …

Sarah little fairy and grandma by Sanoen Publishing s.l.

Sarah is a little girl who loves her grandmother, but when Grandma Mary comes to live with her family because of Alzheimer's Disease, she has a lot to learn. This book app demonstrates through storytelling the common issues children face when an older relative or grandparent is suffering from this type of memory loss.

Sarah listens to the explanations from her parents, but she is also helped by a magical fairy doll. Remembering that people with Alzheimer's often remember things from long ago better than recent events, Sarah becomes a hero when Grandma Mary wanders off. Sarah shows that 'knowledge is power' by suggesting the family search near grandma's childhood home, where they find her Read more …

Martina 1 - Goodbye Grandpa by Carles Coll Madrenas

This digital book is very simple in it's construction but complex in its purpose. The collection of stories it comes from, known as the "Martina Collection" is designed "to educate children about their feelings in a natural way, without changing words and hiding things." The topic of this storybook is the death of a grandparent, a very solemn and specific topic. While it is obviously not appropriate for all-occassion reading, it is a very good book to have on hand for the specific challenge of explaining the death of a loved one to young children.

The book is not narrated and has no settings, sound or other elements that take advantage of the platform, although given its somber subject, Read more …

Just me by Luis Parravicini

This is a beautifully illustrated little book with light animations and subtle interactivity. The story features a little rabbit that isn't quite like anyone in his family. Not narrated and lasting only a few minutes, this is a simple but elegant digital presentation. 

The interactivity is so subtle that you might miss it. You can add more blush to grandma bunny's face, strum brother Ernest's guitar, and toss a carrot over grandpa's gigantic belly. There is also beautiful but oddly haunting piano music that can be turned off with a simple setting. As a digital title, this app is solidly made with a nice page guide and even the choice of arrow or swipe-style page turning.

While the Read more …

Grandma, Grandpa, and Me - Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
Grandma, Grandpa and Me by Mercer Mayer is one of the new adventures of Little Critter, published in print in 2007. In this title, Little Critter is away on an over-night visit to his grandparents house. The digital version of this book also adds a new twist, keeping track as the young reader tries to find all 18 of the little mice and spiders, hidden on nearly every page.
Many readers have asked, "What kind of animal is Little Critter?" According to Wikipedia, Mercer Mayer did not specify which type of animal the Little Critter is, but, "he resembles a hedgehog, hamster or guinea pig." So, basically he's a rodent ... although a rather lovable one! Over 200 books have been released Read more …
A Parcel of Courage - interactive picture book with an extra original set of 4 learning games by Mariya Stavinskaya

Three young boys wonder one day, how far away do grandma and grandpa live? They want their grandparents to visit, but they live VERY far away, a 10-11 hour plane ride, in fact. And Grandma is afraid of flying. How can they help her? Their mother suggests an idea. Perhaps if they bake "courage cookies" grandma will feel better about the trip. Throughout this sweet story, kids can explore pages beyond the edges of the screen, find hidden suprises, solve puzzles and more!

This interactive storybook begins with an enchanting and engaging story. It is well-written and thoughtfully tailored to the interests of young children and their families. Filled with well-designed games and activities, this Read more …

Grandma's Great Gourd by LITERARY SAFARI INC

Grandma’s Great Gourd by Literary Safari is an enchanting story about courage and the ability to stay calm when the world spins out of control around you. A story in the great format of encountering tricksters, this folktale from Bengal, teaches about “reading” one’s environment and dealing with the here and now. The graphics are presented in a rich array of images and patterns in an active kinetic collage. Simply put, the app is gorgeous and one where you can begin to feel the beat and rhythm of the countryside of Bengal through its narration and soundtrack.  The verse also contains the repetition of lines encouraging kids to shout out the known Read more …