Are you a fan of Mercer Mayer’s classic children’s book series Little Critter? If so, did you know that several Little Critter titles have been adapted into apps? In fact, today I’m going to review one of them: Just A Day at the Pond.
Just Me and the Pond
First published as a physical title in 2008, Just A Day at the Pond follows Little Critter and Little Sister as they head off to their grandparents’ farm for a day at the pond. Little Sister eagerly learns to swim, but Little Critter decides to go fishing and catch frogs instead.
What Little Critter doesn’t want to admit is that he doesn’t know how to swim. But a run-in with some ground bees may just change his mind about getting those swimming lessons from Grandpa!
Parents Need to Know
Just A Day at the Pond has interactive features to assist emerging readers. Almost all objects in every scene can be tapped to reveal their names aloud, and so can any word within the texts. The app also includes three reading modes to fit different reading levels: Read to Me, Read It Myself, and Auto Play.
In Read to Me, kids follow along as a professional child narrator reads them story to them with the words highlighted. Auto Play works similarly, but it automatically turns the page once the narration is completed.
Additional reading options are also available, such as the ability to toggle narration, sound effects, and word highlighting. It is also possible to record your own narration to use in place of the default one for a more personalized experience.
Finally, the app includes a side activity in which kids are asked to find all 24 of the mice and spiders hidden throughout the book.
Things I Like
Like other apps by Oceanhouse Media, Just A Day at the Pond is a great way for emerging readers to improve their reading skills. The reading options are excellent, and will suit kids at different reading levels. The included narration is clear and professional, but I like how you can record your own narration as well.
I also think the design of the app makes it easy to navigate. To move forward and backward within the story, you just swipe the page. You can also quickly jump to any page by tapping on the navigation option at the top right-hand side.
Finally, I like how the story conveys a positive message about facing your fears. Throughout the book, we see how Little Critter purposely take up other activities as an excuse to avoid getting into the pond, but when he finally takes the plunge he discovers that the water isn’t so scary after all. It also touches on humility, and hopefully kids will learn from Little Critter’s experience to admit when they need help instead of putting up an arrogant front.
Just A Day at the Pond is available for iPhone/iPad.
Get it on the App Store: iPhone | iPad
App was provided for our honest review.
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