The iPad proves an excellent platform for telling a story with clay and stop-motion animation, but everything else about this version of the oft-adapted tale is lacking.
Developers following the over 100 others who have adapted the tale had better have one heck of a gimmick. For this app, the developers do: lovely, squishy, remarkably realistic clay artwork that transforms with a touch into the familiar elements—pigs, a hungry wolf and hastily built houses. The clay work is so charming and looks so good that it may take readers a few pages to notice that the accompanying writing and narration are more like swine than pearls. It differs from the more kid-friendly modern versions of the popular story by allowing the first two pigs to become wolf chow before a climax that ends with the third pig boiling the wolf and eating him. But the text itself, taken from L. Leslie Brooke’s turn-of-the-last-century edition, is antique, with sentences that would tire triathletes. The star attraction is the clay action, employed cleverly on the pages, including one in which pieces of straw can be moved to build the first pig’s house around a tree. The app doesn’t enchant with “Three Little Pigs,” but it may make readers long for one from the same artists that might be called, “Let’s Just Play with Clay.”
Fusty storytelling sinks this one, though it’s an eye-popping pleasure otherwise. (iPad storybook app. 3-8)