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Just a Mess - Little Critter

June 20, 2012

By: Carisa Kluver

The Digital Media Diet

Will little critter find his mitt in all the mess?

Just a Mess by Mercer Mayer was published in print in 2000. It is a beloved story about Little Critter as he tackles the mess in his room after loosing track of his baseball mitt. His 'cleaning' style is a bit chaotic, but in the process of straightening up, he discovers just what he was looking for and also learns that when you make a mess, you have to be the one to clean it up, a good lesson for kids reading along.

Many readers have asked, "What kind of animal is Little Critter?" According to Wikipedia, Mercer Mayer did not specify which type of animal 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 in this popular series, not to mention a whole line of toys, DVDs and other products.

This digital version adds a new twist, having the reader try to find all the little grasshoppers (18 in all) and cute spiders (18 in all) hidden on every page. When the child taps on a grasshopper or spider, a chime sounds; at the end of the book, a page is displayed with the number of grasshoppers & spiders (of the total) successfully found. This little extra was a big hit with my kid and made re-reading a bit more fun. As a parent, I liked this interactivity because it rewarded my child for paying attention, although it did distract from the story on the first reading.

Like other omBooks by Oceanhouse Media, this app is interactive in a way that enhances early reading skills. Most images (of mom, Little Critter and many items in his room), will name themselves aloud while the word briefly appears over the illustration. For example, touch a spider and the word "spider" appears and is spoken aloud by the narrator. If the word is also present in the text on that page, it highlights as spoken, providing nice auditory/visual word-reinforcement for young learners.

For early readers and pre-readers, the text also highlights as the narrator says each word. By the way, the young voice-actor is also easy to understand. I particularly liked the choice of child narration in the Little Critter book apps, since the story is told in the first-person. Overall, this is a cute book and a great read for children six and under. Recommended!

All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.


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Just a Mess - Little Critter

June 20, 2012

By: Carisa Kluver

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Mercer Mayer

Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Length (time):
4 - 6 Minutes

Based on non-digital book: Yes

Allows Own Narration:

Uses Motion: No

Age: 2 - 6 +

English •

Length (pages):
26 Pages


Story Synopsis - Just a Mess - Little Critter

Little Critter can't find his baseball mitt, so he looks all over. He asks his mom for help and she suggests looking in his room ... but what a mess it is! This means it's time to clean it up. He asks his mom to help but she says he made the mess so he has to clean it up.

Gradually he picks things up, not necessarily cleaning it up perfectly, but definitely make things a bit tidier. A lot of things are just stuffed under the bed and he makes a few messes along the way, like trying to clean the carpet with water. When he is all done he notices his pillow is missing and tries to find it on the side of the bed ... where he finds his baseball mitt!


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Orientation: Landscape & Portrait

Format: Universal


Autoplay, Read-it-myself, Read-to-me, News on/off, Sound on/off, Links to: Web, AppStore, Facebook, Twitter

App Release Date:


Size: 16.94 MB

Version: 1.09

Lite Version Available: No



Just a Mess - Little Critter

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