Image of Kitty, 4, by Mark Hardisty, and reproduced with his kind permission.
Little Red Riding Hood is so well known, so familiar and well recounted in many different versions that I wondered what new experience a publisher could possibly bring to this fairy tale. Well…do you remember those books you read as an independent reader with options? My brother had a stack of them. ‘Turn to page 8 if you want to capture the dragon’ and on it would go allowing you to make up your own story. I was fascinated by these books, wondering about the range of routes and versions of the story children across the country would be experiencing. I knew mine would be different to theirs even though we held the same book in our hands and this possibility excited me. Nosy Crow have recaptured the sense of this magic with their new app Little Red Riding Hood.
You choose the adventure and in doing so the possibilities are endless; the child decides what happens and therefore creates their own version of the Little Red Riding Hood. The appeal of this is obvious; versions of the fairy tale with the richest vocabulary, advanced graphics and range of interactive options offer the user the best story telling opportunities.
As both a children’s writer and a tutor of Children’s Literature my mind is often occupied by fairy tales and their place and importance in children’s literature today. We question the purpose of fairy tales amongst contemporary literature and examine what technology brings to this genre. We have been rewriting this fairy tale and others since Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm first shared with the world the story originally known as Little Red Cap.
Apps are of course addressing a new audience, one that is used to technology and is at home with digital versions of stories. Contemporary developments in digital technology can expand and challenge the concept of children’s literature providing a dual role – making fairy tales accessible to children of today whilst familiarizing those less technologically savvy with the world of apps.
A fairy tale app can reveal to a child their fears, their desires and perhaps reflect back a new understanding of the world through the individual and personal narrative that they construct.
Apps such as Nosy Crow’s Little Red Riding Hood would suggest that the way in which we now share fairy tales is changing. Providing different versions of fairy tales, folk tales and traditional stories is the key to creating a future of readers and writers who will understand this rich literary heritage and ensure that these tales continue to be told, assisted by the ever changing options technology offers us.
Thank you, Rhian! You can find Little Red Riding Hood on the App Store here, and watch the trailer below.