MIXUP picture book
Start with a base of Little Red Riding Hood, add a little Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves and finally stir in some Cinderella. This app lets your child cook up a distinctly mixed-up fairy tale that still makes sense.
So, Little Red Riding Hood didn't turn up at her Granny's cottage. Ali Baba did. This led to the downfall of the forty thieves in the jaws of a wolf. Or maybe not. In this unusual and original app, this is just one possible series of events as the elements of three fairy tales can be pulled into the story.
This is a refreshing new take on the fairy-tale stories told by app approach. At regular key points in the story, the reader can choose whether the narrative goes down a path dictated by the lore of Red Riding Hood, Ali Baba or Cinderella. The story can stick rigidly to the main tale or deviate just a little bit or quite a lot. There are, according to the developers, fifty different endings based on the reader's choices.
The plot twists are well designed and the stories merge together effectively without feeling forced. Choices made earlier in the story are referred back to at later points even when the subsequent options taken have gone back to the more traditional tale. It works as a story book and a method of exploration that children will enjoy.
The app has a very distinct art style that is quite different from that found in many other story apps. It is quite abstract but also characterful and fluidly animated. Its slightly surreal quality matches the unexpected nature of the stories.
The narration is clear and perfectly matched to the developing events. The humour in the surprise directions that the tales take is reflected in the speaker's inflexions. It is so much better than a machine-based speech synthesis. As good as it is, however, some parents may want to read to children themselves and there is no option to silence the speech, although you could mute the device's volume. This is a strange oversight, as you can choose to toggle on or off the accompanying text. If this useful switch is added in a future update, it will increase the flexibility of the app.
As well as being a treat for a class story, the app could also be used as a lesson basis for children's creative writing. Using familiar tales as the building blocks gives young writers a structure to work with but the potential to merge them can exercise children's imagination too. Once they've seen this app in use, children will be bursting with their own ideas of how they can blend familiar tales into something new.
It is great to see a storybook-style app take an original approach like this. Straightforward stories have their place but it is a pity so few apps try to build in features that distinguish them from their paper-based roots. This app certainly does this and you and your children will enjoy exploring it.
From the Developer
Three well loved fairy tales are all mixed up in this interactive picture book for children.
When Little Red Riding Hood meets the Wolf, he asks her 'Where are you going?'
With this app children can choose the answer, and set the story hurtling off one way or another.
At each step along the way, choose which storyline to follow to create your own mixed up fairy tale and reach one of more than 50 possible endings.
Will Little Red Riding Hood discover the Cave of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves? Will the Fairy Godmother turn the Big Bad Wolf into a Big Bad Wolf Carriage so that Cinderella can go to the Ball?
Maybe Ali Baba will dance with the wolf, or Little Red Riding Hood will find her twin sister (What an oddly long tail she has, for a twin sister...), or perhaps the Grandmother will cook up a feast big enough for every one of the Forty Thieves (Wolf Stew, how delicious!)
MIXUP is designed to open up the possibilities of creative play within story telling. Parents can read along with children, or children can listen to the audio narration or read for themselves. Teachers can read to the class and take suggestions, or workshop ideas that spin off from the stories. In our own workshops we have found that children quickly run away with the idea, extending the stories each in their own way, with drawings, creative writing, mini theatre productions and more.
Discover a new story each time you read.