Poor translation mars an otherwise enjoyable app.
The traditional tale of the hardworking Little Red Hen has seen plenty of retellings in picture-book and app formats. This retelling follows the familiar route, emphasizing the moralistic ending. Readers are given the option of sharing or not sharing with the slackers. If readers choose the path of generosity, the pig, cat and dog “[apologize] to her with shame”; if readers opt not to share, the animals “[bow] their heads in shame.” The app is well-constructed, with pleasing narration, lively background music and smooth animation. The interactive elements are limited, which is appropriate for young children. While the colorful illustrations will charm young readers, the awkward and often incorrect English text presents substantial problems. Beginning on the first page, the translation makes for odd reading: The little hen lives with “her neighbors of kitten, puppy and piggy.” In some cases, the translation is so awkward that it makes little sense: “The seeds germinated soon and grew with spring mint wheat seedlings.” While readers will appreciate that this app is available in 5 languages (Chinese, English, French, Japanese and German), they expect proficient translations.
Readers will be left wishing that the developers put the same effort into writing and translating the story as they did creating all of the technical aspects of this app. (iPad 2 & up) (iPad storybook app. 3-6)