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3pigs.jpga.  2011. THREE LITTLE PIGS: NOSY CROW INTERACTIVE STORYBOOK APP Ill. and Animated by Ed Bryan. London: Nosy Crow.

b. A favorite old folktale is transformed into an interactive experience in this exciting first app from Nosy Crow.  While the storyline is familiar, the adventure they create is fresh and new.  With so many versions of The Three Little Pigs flooding the picture book market, it is nice to have an original storyline to share with contemporary school children.  Although this story does veer away from the gruesome and ghastly original, and each pig safely escapes the big bad wolf.  No wolves or pigs are eaten in this story!

Each animal is symbolic of a different human trait. The first pig is whiny and just wants to get his house done quickly; the second pig seems to care more about appearances than functionality, and the third little pig takes his time and works hard to make his brick house.  The wolf symbolizes foolishness and impatience as he climbs the roof and jumps down the third pig’s chimney when his attempt to blow the house down fails. The third pig is clearly the protagonist of the story, and he helps develop the strong moral theme of good triumphing over evil.

c. As the three little pigs move out of their parent’s house and into their own, your child will delight in helping each pig build a house out of straw, sticks, and bricks.  The narrator is a brilliant young girl with a clear British accent.  After she reads the page to you, you can click on each individual piggy to hear something extra from the character.  While she reads, you can also make the characters jump, spin, and you can tilt the iPad to see more of the background setting.  Little fingers are able to jump ahead, but chances are they will be so engaged they won’t want to miss a beat.  The wolf and pigs act out the classic “Huff and Puff” scenes and each character has a distinct voice that reads with growing enthusiasm.  As the wolf huffs, the houses shake and shudder.  Kids can even take part in the story by huffing into the iPad microphone.

Mischievous music plays as the wolf chases the little pigs from house to house.  Otherwise, chirping birds and croaking frogs fill the landscape with forest like sounds.  The sound effects and inter-activities really add to the story instead of detracting like some popular storybook apps.

The crisp graphics bring this nostalgic folktale into the 21st century. The quirky outfits of the pigs and the painterly backgrounds fully immerse the reader into the storyline. Little readers can choose to “read and play,” let the app “read to me,” or “read by myself.”  Choices are always appreciated in an app and each choice functions smoothly. There are no games to detract from the reading experience or flow of the story.  My only complaint is that as far as storybook apps go, this one is expensive.

d. Review Excerpts

  • Winner of 2011 Editor’s Choice Award from Children’s Technology Review magazine.
  • Teacherwithapps.com: “This app is a masterpiece.”
  • Gadgetwise from the New York Times rated it “One of the top 10 Best Children’s Books on the iPad.”

e. This app has taught my daughter the story of the Three Little Pigs. She enjoys helping them build their houses, and watching them run from the wolf.  She also likes the little bunny and spider that follow the pigs throughout the story.

It would be a great day in the library to share many different versions of this traditional folktale.  You could start with the original, then share David Wiesner’s Three Pigs, and end with Scieszka’s True Story of the Three Little Pigs.

Students could all go back to the classroom and create their own comic book version of the Three Pigs and play with point of view or the changing the storyline.

Buy the app here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-three-little-pigs-nosy/id418543664?mt=8

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