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Apps We Love: Go Away, Big Green Monster! and Grimm’s Red Riding Hood – 3-D Interactive Pop-Up Book
Go Away, Big Green Monster! By Ed Emberley by Night & Day Studios is the app version of the Caldecott-medal winning storybook. I’m a big fan of Ed Emberley’s How To Draw series and this app works as both a reading and drawing “how to” experience. 

A “wheel” on the home page of the app allows users to choose a “read along with Ed” and the book is read aloud by Ed Emberley himself. Or users can choose “Read along with a friend” and the book will be read aloud by a child narrator. Users can even choose a sing-along version, where a woman’s voice sings the book as lyrics to a song, accompanied by a ensemble. Either way, young readers can follow along as the app supports early literacy. Of course, users can also opt to simply read the book to themselves. 

Along the way, the monster’s face is assembled then disassembled, part by part, in essence a drawing lesson that shows readers how to create a monster face in stages. I’m betting kids will be inspired to draw their own Big Green Monster. It’s easy if you follow Ed’s steps. 

For a more traditional storybook experience,Grimm’s Red Riding Hood by Ideal Binary strikes an interesting balance between book and app and is easy for kids to navigate. The “book” opens with colorful decorated pages with easy-to-read text. A narrator can read it aloud or users can read it to themselves. Every other page or so opens into a clever “pop up” page with interactive activities, such as helping Red Riding Hood tidy her room by putting clothes into a laundry basket, toys in a toy box, and putting on her red cape. When finished, Mom pops in and announces, “Well done! Your room is sparkling!” 

But be warned, this is a Grimm’s fairy tale, which are a bit raw by today’s standards. Little Red and Grandma are actually swallowed by the wolf and saved by the woodcutter who kills the wolf and cuts open his belly, freeing them. If you’re okay with that, you’ll be delighted with this app. I think it does what a great children’s story app is supposed to do: reinterpret the story for a digital platform and explore the possibilities of the digital world. But it’s still, well, Grimm. 

Grimm’s Red Riding Hood’s text and voiceover narration can easily be switched from English to Dutch, French, or Spanish, which could make it an interesting foreign language supplement for your older kids. Foreign language children’s books have always been a great resource for language students. Ideal Binary also offers Grimm’s Hansel and Gretal, Rapunzel, and Rumpelstiltskin

Review Summary:

App Name: Go Away, Big Green Monster! for iPad
Category: Books
Age Level: 4+
Updated: May 2, 2012
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.
Price: $2.99 
Bottom Line: Simple but delightful.

App Name: Grimm’s Red Riding Hood – 3-D Interactive Pop-up Book
Category: Books
Age Level: 4+
Updated: December 8, 2011
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Price: $3.99 
Bottom Line: Engaging but an old-school Grimm Brothers tale.

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