Literature / Little Critter
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Little Critter is the title character of a children's book series created by Mercer Mayer in 1974. Its title character is a porcupine-like... critter of some sort, who narrates the majority of his own stories. The first book involved him trying to make special things for his mother. Later on, his father and grandparents are shown as well, and he gains a little sister and, in some books, a baby brother. The books were the subject of several adaptations in the 1990s, including "Living Books", or CD-ROM versions which featured narrations of the books over Easter Egg-laden stills of each page. More recently, Oceanhouse Media acquired the rights to the titles and have released a number of interactive mobile apps with a very similar concept. Later on, Mercer tried to make a series called LC and the Critter Kids based off an older Little Critter and meant for older children, but it ended up not being popular enough. A full list of the books can be seen here.

Tropes present:

  • Ambiguously Christian: Happy Easter, Little Critter has Little Critter and his family going to a Christian-style church. However, God or Jesus isn't mentioned.
  • Animated Adaptation: Just Me and My Dad was made into one. Also, the story Just For You was adapted into a "Golden Book Video" title in 1985 (as part of Mercer Mayer's "Herbert the Timid Dragon and Other Tales"), which narrated the story over stills from the book with simple limited animation effects. There are also two television series adaptations: one by Nelvana that was never made, and one by 9 Story Media Group that is currently in development. See the Trivia page for more info.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Little Sister.
  • Art Evolution: Somewhere along the way, Little Critter and family lost their slightly capybara-like faces, morphing into a more generic rodent face with a bulbous nose.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: The characters are generally seen barefoot, though they are often fully dressed otherwise.
  • Baths Are Fun: Just Me in the Tub depicts the things Little Critter does to get ready for his bath and then him having fun in it, though only after he washes.
    • It goes back even further to Just For You. Little Critter explains, "I wanted to not splash in my bath just for you... but there was a storm."
  • Beach Episode: Just Grandma and Me takes place at a beach, complete with everyone in swimwear!
  • Cartoon Creature: Just what is Little Critter anyway?
  • Darker and Edgier: Critter Kids.
    • Also, the Animated Adaptation of "Just Me and My Dad" seems to be slightly Darker and Edgier than the book that inspired it. It includes the reoccuring theme of Bigpaw, which isn't present in the book (there is one part in the book where Little Critter tells his dad "a ghost story," but Bigpaw isn't specificly named), the message that "this is the animal's home and we're their guests," which gets STRONGLY enforced by the end of the video, and the scene where Little Critter and his dad almost crash into a billboard.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Little Critter was naked in the early stories.
  • Face Palm: Little Critter's dad is seen doing this on the cover of Just Helping My Dad as Little Critter stands holding a shovel in a puddle of water created from a hose he left running.
  • Fantastic Racism: The turtle/rabbit kid in Just a Little Different gets this, but Little Critter will have none of it and invites him over to play.
  • First Day Of School Episode: "First Day Of School", naturally.
  • Funny Animal: Entire cast.
  • Furry Confusion:
    • In Just Go to Bed, Little Critter pretends to be a rabbit. It could be justified in that he might have been pretending to be another person who just happened to be a rabbit.
    • In Just Pick Us, Please!, Little Critter and his friends help the local animal shelter to host a pet fair, which includes a hodgepodge of anthropomorphic animals all adopting various pet animals, including on one page an anthropomorphic rabbit holding what very much appears to be a non-anthro rabbit.
  • Grandfather Clause: Little Critter's mom, and many other adult females, are almost always seen wearing old-fashioned dresses and hats that were commonly in fashion back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: For a while, Little Critter wore only overalls. However in "Just For You," Little Critter was completely nude while his mother was fully clothes. Also in the book "When I Get Bigger" Little Critter was completely undressed while telling the readers what he wanted to be when he grows up. He is seen walking to the candy store wearing a shirt but no pants and walking barefoot. Sometimes he is fully dressed going to school but wears only a shirt at the playground and most of the time.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: One character in Just a Little Different has a turtle father and rabbit mother.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Most (if not all) of the books are titled "Just __________".
  • Licensed Game / Edutainment Game :
    • The franchise is fondly remembered for its Living Books releases.
    • iOS Games: 11 books have been chosen to be released as interactive books for iOS Devices.
  • The Moving Experience: This is used in We are Moving. Little Critter and Little Sister are both very upset, but it turns out that they're just moving a short distance away, to a home nearby their elementary school. This is one of the few that actually tries to hide that the move isn't a big deal.
  • No Name Given: To Little Critter or his family.
  • Playful Otter: LC and the Critter Kids introduced a surfing otter named Slick Rick. Otters sometimes show up as background characters in the main series as well.
  • Potty Failure: Little Sister had two in the book The New Potty. The first time failing to go to the potty at all and getting the sand in the sandbox wet, and the second time missing the potty and getting the floor wet instead.
  • Spin-Off: LC and the Critter Kids. These books added a ton of new characters and attempted to target a slightly older audience (one book has LC and the gang facing a cursed mummy in a museum, the visual style looks more like that of a comic book, and the characters sometimes use words like "dude"). While this series is largely forgotten, some of the characters have been assimilated into the main Little Critter series.
    • Mayer also did a horror spin-off called Critters of the Night.