Hansel and Gretel – Epic Tales animated storybook is a new interactive re-telling of the classic Grimm’s story with stellar illustrations and narration – soon to be part of a series of Epic Tales applications.
Hansel and Gretel has always been a favorite story of mine, as I love the imagery of the gingerbread house and other elements involving the witch of this story – even the scary moments of locking children in cages with plans to eat them.
My son, however, seems to be more sensitive in general than I was at his age, and because of this, I avoid sharing stories that dwell on details involving the death of a parent or an evil stepmother. I have been careful about the versions of this classic tale that I share with my boy, as the father in Hansel and Gretel has a varied degree of complicity in terms of allowing the delivery of, or sometimes in bringing his children into the woods to become lost, never to return home. For me, it has always been the father not protecting his children that I find most disturbing.
Here, I am glad to see the father at least trying to protect his children in terms of the treatment they receive by the hands of their stepmother. In this version, this evil character carries out her plot to rid herself of extra mouths to feed in secret, going against the direct wishes of the father to leave the children alone, making this story, although still dark, less disturbing from my point of view.
It is worth pointing out, however that this app, to quote iTunes is “Rated 9+ for the following: Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes. Although I do think children under the age of nine can view this app without problems, this rating is something to keep in mind especially for teachers who may not intimately know their students tolerance for this sort of thing.
This version of the traditional story is very well-written, giving more of a back story than most retellings about how this family fell on hard times. It also includes scenes not often depicted which add a lot to this story such as Gretel overhearing the stepmother’s plans to rid the family of the children along with the father’s protests, as well as specific details from the traditional Grimm’s version often left out of modern adaptations such as where the children find their way home the first time the stepmother tries to lose them in the woods.
I also enjoy a great deal the extended moments when the children start eating the witch’s house and other garden effects reminding me of a scene from the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, all of which make this version of this tale really stand out for me in terms of excellent storytelling.
The look of this app is quite wonderful with illustrations containing animated nuances which adults and children will find striking in terms of their overall quality – hand-drawn and full of dark, quirky details that bring so much life to this adaptation.
This app contains three sections: “Read to Me,” which includes excellent narration, “Read to Myself,” meant to be read out loud, as well as a “Play Around” mode which does not include text or narration yet gives readers the opportunity to investigate all the hot spots at will, as contrasted to the other sections which are designed for children to first experience the storytelling before they explore, keeping the experience focused on the storytelling, which I enjoy.
Do note that one can bypass the text or narration with a tap to trigger the interactions as well – a nice touch.
This app opens up with an interesting setup where children get to meet the narrator for the first time, reminding me of the opening of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller – high praise to be sure. I also admire this storytelling in general which includes conversational details and a lovely flow which tells a tale beyond that which is illustrated, allowing readers to use their own imagination while listening to this story which contains a fair amount of humor, especially within the included animated hot spots.
From this introduction, the high quality and well-crafted nature of this application is obvious. The only moment that gave me pause was at the end of the introduction where the narrator grabs a small troll that he has in a cage and smacks it on the bottom – presumably to release twinkling fairy dust, much like one may do in order to get pepper out of a shaker – a moment that caught me so off guard the first time that I had to go back to this scene to make sure I saw what I thought I saw. I am not a parent who is looking for my stories to be unnecessarily sanitized or politically correct, but I see no need to spank an enslaved troll to create a sparkly effect, and I find this level of violence more troubling than any detail within this traditional story – no matter the adaptation.
I hope this moment within the intro to the other future apps within a series of storybook apps by Epic Tales will not contain this ugly troll-slapping incident. Having said this, the look, narration and overall experience is grand here, and I look forward to more of these applications.
I do think, however that the current price of $6.99 may be a disappointment to families who simply can’t afford to spend this much on one storybook application, just something to think about for their future applications.
Hansel and Gretel - Epic Tales animated storybook
Developer: Epic Tales
Released: 2012-04-20 00:00:00
Description from the DeveloperGet ready to experience the classic tale of Hansel & Gretel like you’ve never seen it before. Download Hansel and Gretel - Epic Tales Animated Storybook and start exploring over 20 chapters of colorful interactive fun and awe inspiring, award winning animation right now!
Epic Tales, the interactive storyteller has chosen to bring off their version of one of the Brothers Grimm’s most celebrated fairy tales.
Hansel and Gretel- Epic Tales animated storybook offers a world filled with whimsical characters ranging from pesky gnomes to witty dwarfs; from brave children to mean stepmothers and cunning witches. The tale is digitally hand-drawn by award winning animators and features stunning 2d animations and cut scenes, professional voice actors, original music scores, and spellbinding interactive environments that are sure to draw readers even deeper into the story.
What are you waiting for? The amazing tale of Hansel & Gretel comes alive and pops off the page on the App Store. The wacky fairy tale world of the Brothers Grimm is waiting for you!
•Classical tale, original adaption
•Produced and animated by award winning animation studio
•Professional storytelling and voice acting
•23 chapters filled with beautiful hand drawn environments
•Over a 100 interactive and dynamic surprises
•Cinematic cut scenes
•Original music score and sound effects
•Options : Read to me, Read by myself or Play around
Hansel and Gretel is the first tale in a series of animated storybooks as told by the likeable dwarf and storyteller Silvertongue and is available on the Appstore for IPad and IPhone.
Please SHARE YOUR REVIEW below.
Visit our website: www.epictales.com
Follow us on Twitter: @Epictalesinc
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/epictales
Trailer : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKvoy7QU_vc
For any technical issues, please don't hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Epic Tales is a member of Moms with Apps, a collaborative group of family-friendly developers seeking to promote quality apps for kids and families.