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by Kimara Nye & illustrated by Marcin Bruchnalski & developed by Maverick Arts Publishing Ltd

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: June 14th, 2011
Publisher: Maverick Arts Publishing Ltd

After complaining that a common fairy tale is boring and predictable, Tom is “spelled” into the story by his witch-grandmother.

Granny Mag is a witch--not the wart-covered, child-eating kind; she’s what Samantha Stephens of Bewitched fame might have been like as a senior citizen. When her grandson Tom balks at “The Three Little Pigs” as a bedtime story, Granny Mag picks up her wand, gives him a snout and casts a spell that drops him in to the story. Tom immediately sets out to warn the pigs of their impending doom, and each time the wolf shows up, Tom saves the day by outsmarting him. Interactive features are plentiful--a growling wolf, a melodic guitar, chuckling pigs, to name just a few--but when a touch accidentally becomes a minor swipe, it turns the page prematurely (annoying, but avoidable with practice). Bold colors and sharp illustrations make visual engagement easy, and characters are well drawn--both in a literary and an artistic sense. The wolf even elicits a little sympathy, as he’s clearly disoriented and frustrated by the fourth pig (Tom). There are auto-play and read-it-myself options, but an added bonus is that readers can opt for narration on a page-by-page basis.

The app price ($7.99 at the time of review) may make you squeal, but still it’s a creative and charming alternative to standard swine fare. (iPad storybook app. 5-9)