When I interviewed Nosy Crow‘s Tom Bonnick last month, he piqued my curiosity about Little Red Riding Hood, the company’s newest interactive, digital book for 3 to 8-year-olds. After a chance to use the app, which was released last week, for myself, I’m happy to report that it does not disappoint.
Nosy Crow’s version of Little Red Riding Hood encompasses the well-turned out, cinematic feel of their previous fairy tale digi-books, Cinderella and The Three Little Pigs, with a choose-your-own-adventure-style twist. Not only does the reader dictate how Little Red’s story unfolds, he can also play games within the narrative, and enjoy surprising iOS integrative features.
The reader first meets Little Red on the splash screen. He can choose from Read and Play or Read by Myself modes before the story begins. Red also has a few pointers. She tells the reader, “The blue dots can help you find things that you’ve missed.” or “Drag with two fingers to explore more of the scene.”
Little Red Riding Hood’s attention to detail is impressive. For example, the soundtrack creates a mood, while also including birdsong and a hardworking woodpecker. The owl that visits Little Red outside her window at home stays with her through her walk in the woods. Little Red meets the Big Bad Wolf (of course!), but she also encounters a number of other creatures of the woods including a bird, a bear, a mole, even a musical monkey on her journey. After she interacts with the creatures she meets, Little Red earns items at each stage of the journey that come in handy once she reaches her Grandma’s house.
After finishing the app once through, the reader’s will certainly be curious about what happened on all the paths Little Red didn’t take. With that in mind, Nosy Crow designed the app so that the reader doesn’t have to repeat the entire journey to see all of Little Red’s choices. Tapping on the blue ribbon at the top of the screen brings up a map that shows all of Little Red’s different options. All paths still lead to the same end, though there are a variety of differences that keep the reader engaged.
Regardless of the path she takes, Little Red’s journey still culminates with the memorable encounter with the Big Bad Wolf dressed as Grandma. This tension-filled interaction strikes just the right balance between drama and levity. Little Red uses the items in her basket to protect herself. Rather than using violence, Little Red tackles the Big Bad Wolf with tickles, whistles, and persistance.
Read and play mode includes word highlighting. The app requires the reader to tap the blue arrows twice before changing scene, which helps prevent accidental scene changes. Throughout the journey Little Red will offer the reader a navigation tip such as, “swipe to make me go faster.”
Download Little Red Riding Hood by Nosy Crow from the App Store for $4.99. This universal app will run on iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch running iOS 4.3 or later.
What I liked: Even though it’s a story that I already know well, Little Red Riding Hood kept my attention. The app’s multiple narratives encourage the reader to read and re-read the story.
What I didn’t like: Nothing!
To buy or not to buy: Whether the reader already knows the story, or is meeting Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf for the first time, she will love Nosy Crow’s clever, beautifully rendered take on Little Red’s story.
- App Name: Little Red Riding Hood
- Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
- Category: Books
- Developer: Nosy Crow
- Price: $4.99