Hansel and Gretel’s story has as many versions as Frau Pfefferkuckenhaus’ cottage has candy. PB&J Publishing’s iPad version of the classic Brothers’ Grimm tale, Hansel and Gretel: Lost, modernizes the story with updated language and graphics that are pretty without being fussy.
While the enduring messages of the story — don’t wander off, stick together, don’t take candy from strangers — are preserved, the story feels more current than many other iOS treatments of fairy tales, and will appeal to young readers who are hearing it for the first time as well as older folks who still recall the Looney Tunes version with Witch Hazel.
Hansel and Gretel: Lost’s UI includes all the standard features readers look for in a children’s iPad storybook: the menu is accessed easily at all times, the soundtrack and narration are professional, and the developer handles the app’s lighthearted and clever interactive elements with restraint.
This app stands apart from the crowded field of public domain kids’ stories thanks to its solid writing. Unlike the original tale, Hansel and Gretel are not sent into the forest by an evil/mean/demented mother, rather Gretel heads in reluctantly, with Hansel after initially refusing by saying, “No Way! That girl with the red cape went in and never came out.”
Once in the forest, the kids are surprised to find that (spoiler alert!) it isn’t scary at all. On the other hand, the witch is still scary enough, but still amusing. Kids and adults will both laugh when Hansel complains about his all junk food diet saying, “I only eat organic.”
Download Hansel and Gretel: Lost from the App Store for an introductory price of $3.99.
What I liked: Hansel and Gretel: Lost gets all the little things right, and these small details make for a much more interesting reading experience. The reader can open Hansel’s curtains to let the sun in, feed Hansel junk food, and even help Gretel clean the witch’s dirty feet.
What I didn’t like: Gretel’s braids look tacked on to her head as an after thought, and I found her appearance distracting since the rest of the graphics were spot on.
To buy or not to buy: Even if you already know the story, and we know you do, PB&J’s Hansel and Gretel still offers readers of all ages an entertaining tale looks that are deceiving where good reassuringly triumphs over evil.
- App Name: Hansel and Gretel: Lost
- Version Reviewed: 1.0
- Category: Books
- Developer: PB&J Publishing
- Price: $3.99 introductory price, $4.99 list price