Though Hansel and Gretel celebrates its bicentennial this year, the undertones of this two hundred-year-old tale are still relevant for children today. Plus, it’s dramatic and thrilling enough to keep young readers on the edge of their tiny chairs.
Though the app comes with an age rating of 9+ (for Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence and Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes), the story is suitable for younger children who can handle the suspense.
Epic Tales’ version of Hansel and Gretel has a standard iOS book app UI. The user can either choose read to me or read to self modes. This app includes a third option, play around, which is self-explanatory. The user can zip through the app sampling the interactive hot spots without reading the story.
As with many folk and fairy tales, there are multiple versions of Hansel and Gretel. While Epic’s take on Hansel and Gretel stays reasonably true to earlier versions, there were a few notable changes to the ending, which make it less grim (and Grimm). The witches house is covered in cotton candy and decorated with gummy animals, a detail that helps the story feel like less of a period piece.
Even though much of what actually happens in the story is preposterous by modern standards, the underlying message of the book — what is sweet and appealing on the outside may still harbor danger on the inside — still resonates. Plus evil step-mothers never go out of style.
Download Hansel and Gretel — Epic Tales Animated Storybook from the App Store for $6.99.
What I liked: The narrator provided much needed comic relief and the animation is impressive. The user can turn off the sound or music at any point, as well as skip easily between chapters using the menu.
What I didn’t like: The story and the interactive elements mesh at some points (e.g. when Hansel is pushed into the cellar and when he uses his slingshot), but at other points the interactivity and animation were out of sync with the story and felt like an afterthought. There is a pause between every screen to load content which may annoy some readers.
To buy or not to buy: Despite a few shortcomings, Epic Tales version of Hansel and Gretel offers a modern recasting of a classic story and high-quality animation. The app will work on iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, which helps justify the $6.99 price.
- App Name: Hansel and Gretel — Epic Tales animated storybook
- Version Reviewed: 1.78
- Category: Books
- Developer: Paul Hanraets
- Price: $6.99