Hansel & Gretel: Lost is a well crafted re-telling of this classic story for iPad, wonderfully illustrated with animations as well as including top-notch narration, music and sound effects. Auto-play is also an option as well as silencing the narration to read this book by oneself.
It is easy to tell from the first page that this app is something special. The illustrations are lush with color and beautiful to look at with a marbled textured style that I always find appealing. Every element in this book is at a superlative level of quality that adults will greatly appreciate, as will their children.
The interactions are thoughtful and propel the story forward, and the narration is great as are the voice talents that can be heard with taps of these characters.
Excellent music is also included for each scene that conveys mood - be it happiness or suspense, adding even more richness to this experience.
There are some really creative elements here as well, from being able to remove the candy from the witch's house to eat, to being able to pull the lever down on a machine to force-feed Hansel - a moment that is great fun and thoroughly modern without being over-the-top for children. This app hits all the right notes, bridging the gap between modern and classic as well as looking hand-crafted while being an interactive application.
I love the new details just as much, such as Gretel dipping the witch’s glasses in butter to make the witch unable to see - a moment that works so well it could have been an element from a Grimm’s fairytale.
What I really appreciate the most about this tale is that it completely bypasses the concept of the evil stepmother, as these kids simply stumble upon the witch’s house while playing in the woods and getting lost.
There are also no jewels to steal - another part of this story that has always bothered me, as here, Gretel simply finds a map and uses it to make their way home to loving parents who make them promise never to go off into the forest again. Do tap on this map in order for it to become an interactive maze activity as well - a nice touch.
There are just so many fun details in this app such as the little forest monsters who eat the bread crumbs dropped by the kids that children and their adults will simply adore this modern take.
Although parents and children may be familiar with this story in general, there is much new here that the tale still excites, while maintaining the general tone people expect and love from this classic such as the witch's hinger for children, locking Hansel in a cage - details my son has always loved from a young age.
I can’t recommend this app enough for parents who are looking for an interactive storybook for their children, especially as Gretel is a strong female role model, taking an even more active role in saving her brother than in the original version.
This is the first app from PB&J Publishing, but I hope they create more storybook apps in the future as every element in this app is perfectly realized in every way. I can’t wait to see what these developers come up with next.