A charming, if heavily edited version of the old German tale.
From the get-go, what strikes users of this app are the stunning colors and the slightly spooky 3-D imagery. Any real scariness is beveled substantially by the manically wide-eyed, chirpy lead characters and the interactive components, such as the frog tongue that shoots out upon touch or the pieces of candy that likewise come flying off the house in the woods. There is no evil stepmother here, no duplicitous father, no famine on the land, but there are the dark forest and the cage and the cook fire into which Gretel cagily boots the witch. Opportunities for engagement abound, as well as lots of cues as to how readers can engage—making it appropriate for the quite young (and the story has a follow-the-bouncing-ball–style narration). It feels more sophisticated than its ease of interaction suggests, as when Gretel scrambles up a tree, with the landscape unfolding and the great moon rising, or when she swings on the chandelier, or as Hansel gets fatter and fatter as the witch plumps him for the kettle. And even if the tale ends with the message that the forest is a wicked place where no child should venture, readers will probably be enticed therein in search of that candy house.
An eye-catching, trim and attention-holding version of the unnerving fairy tale. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)