Little Red Riding Hood by Nosy Crow is a universal app that I have eagerly been anticipating for quite some time, and I can say with much excitement that this app is worth the wait.
This is a re-telling of the classic story with a few great twists along the way. A special app, Nosy Crow has added some wonderful new elements to a classic story, specifically allowing children to choose one of many paths they would rather take as Little Red travels through a forest on her way to Grandma’s, collecting numerous objects along the way as well as meeting new characters.
From the moment this app opens, the beautiful, bright and bold animation that Nosy Crow fans expect can be seen. The look of this app, as is the case with the other Nosy Crow storybook apps, is simply stellar in every way dealing with animation.
Also of note is the layered 3D effect one can see as the moving of one’s device will change the perspective one can see at any given angle - a nice touch but a little sensitive for my taste as the effect can look jumpy if the device is held with a shaky hand.
There are two ways of enjoying this book. “Read and Play” allows children to follow along with highlighted narration as seen as the main text and narration of this story, as well as read along with spoken extra lines of dialogue heard when a character is tapped.
“Read by Myself” allows children to read on their own the text and speak bubbles without the aid of narration and gives children the choice of the speed in which the lines of text are seen on the page, allowing those new to reading to slow down these words for an easier time reading - a very helpful inclusion.
There are a lot of interactions to partake in, such as gathering up fun and inviting foods like as cake, cheese, sandwiches and produce to share with Grandmother as well as fun moments of Little Red and her mom gently telling readers what to leave at home when users try to add non-food items to the basket as well as other items that will not travel well. It is also nice to be able to drag these characters around the page, making them look as if they are walking, even running around the page for a very nice effect.
After making up a basket, Little Red is off to Grandmother’s, walking through the forest. As one may expect, Little Red meets the Big Bad Wolf on her journey, wonderfully stylized with a cap and plaid pants as a nod to vintage styling that makes me smile.
Little Red is able to pass the Wolf and later comes to a fork in the path where she needs to make a decision on which way to continue. Both paths are marked with signs that demonstrate the item one may need to collect such as flowers, feathers, acorns, or even a spider.
Children will enjoy each of the activities that will allow Little Red to collect the items of interest, such as catching feathers from a bird flying overhead, pulling thistles from a moose’s fur, gathering flowers, acorns or a bucket of water, as well as helping a bear pour honey to collect a jar of one’s own. A maze involving a spider’s web is included as is a “Whack-a-Mole” styled game where one grabs dandelions from a mole. There is also a delightful “Simon” styled music game where Little Red needs to repeat the musical sounds made by a monkey willing to give away his whistle for five correct answers.
After completing three of these sections, Little Red will arrive at Grandmother’s house to find the Wolf in Grandmother’s bed, who threatens to eat Little Red.
I adore Little Red’s defensive posturing when being threatened by the Wolf as well as the very cinematic close-up shots of Little Red and the Wolf, reminiscent of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” that will make adults smile. Here Little Red strikes with the objects she collected along her way, such as tickling the Wolf with feathers, making him sneeze from flowers or momentarily shocking him with a splash of water to the face. This fight comes to a conclusion in three different ways, from a police officer taking away the Wolf after hearing Little Red blow the whistle, scaring the Wolf away with the large spider who came along for the ride in the basket, or covering the Wolf in honey and who then gets chased away by bees, never to bother Little Red again.
After unlocking the wardrobe where Grandmother was trapped, they sit down to eat what was packed in the basket, helping Little Red unpack the foods and feeding the characters, helping them to eat and ending this exceptional interactive application.
Although this app has been compared to the classic “Choose Your Own Adventure” series of books, I am pleased to see that although decision-making is part of this story, these choices are age-appropriate for young children of all ages and do not truly change the outcome of this story.
I mention this as I have begun to read my son “Choose Your Own Adventure” titles and I feel that negative conclusions to the choices my boy has made can stress him, and for now he does not enjoy these titles as much as I had hoped.
Here, Little Red’s choices of paths will allow her to play different mini-games with fanciful characters she meets along the way, but there are no pitfalls in the choices one can make within this story, and all roads lead to Grandmothers house, so the comparison to a true “Choose Your Own Adventure” or “Which Way” book is not spot-on in my opinion, which I feel children actually benefit from.
I am also quite pleased to see what a strong female character Little Red is in this re-telling, as I am with the illustration of Little Red’s mother who has her own womanly curves, a nice detail that although does not attract attention to itself, is a nice element for children to seen in the world around them.
There are many more points I could make about the high quality of Little Red Riding Hood by Nosy Crow, but I think it may be best just to tell readers that this is an app worthy of purchase that a wide range of children and their adults will adore.