Little Red Riding Hood

nosy_crow_red_riding_hood_front_cover Last Thursday I was woken at 5:30am by two small children, who had been woken by foghorns from the container ships coming in to the docks. Normally, this would have made me very grumpy, but this time it gave us a great excuse to download Little Red Riding Hood on its release day and read it before getting ready for school. Smiles all round!

From the beginning, it was reassuring to recognise the same familiar style and quality of the other Nosy Crow apps, including The Three Little Pigs and Cinderella. Mr Tall and Little Miss Chatterbox could confidently use the app themselves right away, and were excited to explore it.

As we read, it became clear that Little Red Riding Hood takes all the best features of previous Nosy Crow apps and then adds on yet another layer with the introduction of reader-directed choices in the story – a real digital Choose Your Own Adventure book.

nosy_crow_red_riding_hood_forks_in_pathAs Little Red Riding Hood walks through the forest, the reader chooses which path she takes, following signs picturing things like flowers, a spider, feathers or water. These lead to nine different engaging and well-pitched mini games. You choose three paths per reading. These games are fun in themselves, but the clever part is that they influence what goes into the basket, and therefore how Little Red Riding Hood defeats the wolf at Grandma’s House. Picked up some feathers from the bird? Use them to tickle the wolf. Some honey from the bear? Throw it over the wolf and watch the bees chase him away. It is really exciting to be able to direct the story, and guarantees children will want to read over and over again (for those concerned, we made it to school on time – but only just!)

nosy_crow_red_riding_hood_grandmas_houseThere is a handy map included so you can check the paths through the forest and find all the activities you haven’t completed yet. And it isn’t only these parts which change – the key to Grandma’s wardrobe is hidden in a different place every time you play, which keeps it fresh and fun. (Small note to Nosy Crow – it can be difficult if the key is hidden just where the blue navigation arrow is located on the screen.) It is also very satisfying to fill the basket with food at the beginning of the story, and then empty it at the other end – the child has helped throughout.

nosy_crow_red_riding_hood_and_mumAs usual, time and care has been taken over small things which really make a big difference for me. All the characters have been well thought out and really do have individual character. I was so pleased to see Little Red Riding Hood’s mum is a beautiful size 16 (the average UK body shape), with a little of Nigella Lawson about her, all cuddles and love and cake-mix spoons to lick. Little Red Riding Hood is both sweet and assertive, with ginger hair (hurray!) and a modern take on the hood. The wolf is never really too scary for little ones, and looks ever so funny in his Grandma wig. You can spot a small owl in many scenes, dispensing wise comments and observations (just like the robin in Cinderella and spider/rabbit in The Three Little Pigs). The radio from other stories is there too, playing the same music. I should add that the main soundtrack by BAFTA award-winning composer Robin
Beanland is wonderful, and provides a great atmosphere. Great use is made of the possibilities of the iPad through use of tilting, scrolling, camera, and microphone but it is always in keeping with the story and never feels like an add-on. Finally, something else I always notice with Nosy Crow apps  is how polite the characters are. Hearing them say please and thank you really reinforces this with young children.

Mr Tall and Little Miss Chatterbox’s favourite things? “Seeing yourself in the pond and getting the food for the basket and making the wolf run away!”

I was a little nervous about this app because we are such huge fans of Nosy Crow, and was holding my breath in case it wasn’t quite as good as I hoped. I needn’t have worried – the bar has been raised and all three of us give it a firm thumbs up.

Little Red Riding Hood, developed by Nosy Crow, compatible with iPhone and iPad. Available from priced at £2.99/$4.99 at time of writing.

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