The classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood comes to the iPad and iPhone in a captivating interactive storybook that continues to delight my four-year-old day after day. Little Red Hiding Hood, sporting a red hoodie in this updated story, gets some help from the reader as she saves Grandma from the Big Bad Wolf in this re-telling for the iPad generation.
Little Red Riding Hood from developer Nosy Crow adds choices along Red’s journey to let the reader decide how best to stop the Big Bad Wolf from getting his great big teeth on Little Red Riding Hood, giving a “Choose Your Own Adventure” feel to the fairy tale. (But don’t worry – there are no wrong paths that end up in the wolf’s stomach). My daughter loves to explore every path to play each mini-game along the way to Grandma’s house, from collecting thistles and other items to a Simon-style musical memory challenge.
Encouraging the reader to interact with the story was one of the developer’s goals with the app, according to Tom Bonnick, Digital Project and Marketing Manager at Nosy Crow. “Our foremost ambition was always to make the most engaging and innovative reading experience as possible,” Tom said. “We’re firm believers in reading for pleasure, and so when it comes to apps, that means creating a story that is as compelling and exciting as anything else a child could do on an iPad.
“We wanted to create something that took full advantage of the potential of an iPad as a platform – and Little Red Riding Hood uses almost every conceivable feature… and we were really excited by the creative potential of non-linear narratives — the idea that a child can not only choose a different path in their version of the story, but create different outcomes that are dependent on previous choices.”
In most versions of the fairy tale, Grandma ends up inside the wolf’s stomach, and soon after Red joins her until the lumberjack comes to their aid. In Little Red Riding Hood, however, it’s up to the little girl to scare away the wolf and unlock Grandma from the closet — a change my four-year-old appreciated, as she has the opportunity to chase away the bad guy herself.
When I asked Tom about keeping the two out of the wolf’s innards, he told me, “Well, although I’m quite comfortable with reading print versions of the story of Little Red Riding Hood that end in that decidedly more gory way, we felt that the nature of our apps made that impossible to contemplate: they are incredibly innovative stories, where user interactivity drives the narrative forward, and that would necessitate a child having to be actively involved in the act of the wolf eating Grandma (as opposed to simply reading about it)… and it also didn’t feel like who we are — we’re really proud of making stories that are very child-and-parent friendly.”
The mini-games keep my daughter coming back to play the app again and again, which is not typical for her when it comes to interactive storybooks. When I asked her if she had a question for the makers of Little Red Riding Hood, my preschooler asked hopefully if more stops along Red’s path would be coming soon. Tom revealed that the app’s illustrator, Ed Bryan, is already working on the next fairy tale app in development — Jack and the Beanstalk — so she can look forward to a brand-new story later this year.
Little Red Riding Hood is available in the iTunes store for $4.99 for the iPad and iPhone. While I was initially wary of the price, the nine activities inside the story have made it a re-playable, entertaining app that has been worth every penny.