Nearly every one experiences envy, whether it’s of another person’s success or material possessions. Envy is a natural human emotion, so it can arise every now and then. But it’s important that we keep it in check, lest it ruin our relationships or damage our self-esteem.
As adults, many of us have learned to deal with our envy in a healthy way. But children are different. Many emotions are new to them, and they may not know what to do. This is where we come in; so that they can handle these negative emotions and develop a positive opinion about themselves.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to a Little Critter app that might just help your children deal with envy and see their lives in a new perspective. Called Just So Thankful, this interactive book teaches shows that even though you might not always have what you want, there is still a lot to be thankful for.
A new kid has moved into Little Critter’s neighborhood, and he seems to have everything Little Critter wants — a Super Streak scooter, a fancy house, and even a maid to pick up his stuff. The newcomer, H.H., invites Little Critter to a sleepover, during which Little Critter comments how lucky H.H. is to have so much cool stuff.
On their way home from the sleepover, Little Critter’s mother suggests that he invite H.H. over to their house. Little Critter thinks that H.H. might get bored since they don’t have so much cool stuff to play with, but as it turns out, H.H. actually has a lot of fun.
H.H. admits that he never gets to help out with dinner at home, and rarely sees his grandparents because they live far away. Before he goes home, H.H. tells Little Critter that he is so lucky. Little Critter looks at his family, and realizes what H.H. means.
Just So Thankful is easy to use; simply tap on the arrows on the bottom of the screen to go forward or backward through the story. Each page contains several scenes, which you navigate by swiping.
Like all Oceanhouse Media apps, Just So Thankful comes with excellent reading options. You can choose to read the story by yourself, or have it read to you. There’s also an Auto Play mode where the animations on each page are automatically played back along with the narration. If you want a more personalized experience, you can record your own narration.
As kids read, they can tap on the objects in the illustration to see them labeled and pronounced. They can also tap on the words to hear them spoken. All the narrated reading modes come with word highlighting.
Parents Need to Know
Also included in the app is a mini game where you are challenged to find all the spider and mouse characters within the story. You can retry the game many times as there isn’t a time limit or scoring system.
Just So Thankful is designed for ages 2-5. The app has no in-app purchases and no third-party ads. All external links are locked from kids. You can toggle off the News from within the parents’ section.
Dealing with Envy in Kids
Envy is a normal human emotion, so it’s impossible to shield your child completely from it. However, there are things you can do to help them deal with the negative feelings.
Instead of focusing on material goods, talk to them about your family’s non-monetary riches. Maybe your family doesn’t make as much as others, but you’re able to spend more time with your kids. Or maybe you don’t always eat out, but you eat healthy, home-cooked meals every day. Teach your kids to value what they already have instead of always comparing themselves to others.
You can also use the opportunity to teach kids about savings and money management. If your kids want a new toy, let them earn it by doing chores for more allowance. This will teach them about the value of money and hard work.
Things I Like
Just So Thankful is a wonderful storybook that teaches kids to appreciate what they have. It shows that material goods don’t necessarily guarantee happiness, and that at the end of the day, a loving family is the most valuable thing you can have. There’s also a subtle message about being kind to others as we each have a cross to bear, even if it’s not always apparent.
Off screen, you can use the book as a starting point to discuss with your kids what they are thankful for and what family means to them. This way, you can measure their emotional well-being.
Overall, the app is well done. I like how it uses simple transitional animations to add life to Mercer Mayer’s classic illustrations. The narration is also clearly recorded.
Based on Mercer Mayer’s beloved series, Just So Thankful is an interactive storybook about dealing with envy and learning to be thankful for what you have. It’s easily understood from a child’s point of view, without sounding preachy. As with all Oceanhouse Media apps, it comes with excellent reading options that would benefit readers ages 2-5.
App was provided for our honest review.
About Oceanhouse Media
Oceanhouse Media, Inc. is a leading app publisher with licensing agreements in place with several famous book publishing companies. They have published over 45 apps based on Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter stories, which address all the major issues of growing up.
If you liked Just So Thankful, you should also check out these Oceanhouse Media apps we’ve reviewed previously:
Little Critter Library provides unlimited access to a wide selection of Little Critter books for a monthly subscription fee. Each book comes with rich reading options, including audio narration with text highlighting and the ability to record your own narration. You can also download the books for offline reading. It offers great value for Little Critter fans.
How I Became a Pirate is a marvelous rendition of the award-winning book written by Melinda Long and illustrated by David Shannon. It cleverly plays with animation and perspectives to create cinematic effects, as well as subtle sound effects to add a sense of depth. Recommended for kids ages 5–8.