September 12th, 2011
Review by Miranda West
iPhone app iPad app iPod Touch app
Production credits: Nosy Crow
Launch date: 13 September 2011
Cinderella is the second 3-D fairy tale app to be released by independent publisher, Nosy Crow. Their first, The Three Little Pigs, stormed the book app charts and continues to sell on, entertaining children (and their parents judging by the tweets) across the globe.
We were curious to see Nosy Crow’s take on this children’s favourite – as it sure ain’t the only Cinderella app in the store. But with Kate Wilson’s assurance that Nosy Crow have ‘taken interactive storytelling to the next level’ this time, we put our concerns to one side and straightened our tiaras…
With its high-production values, Nosy Crow’s Cinderella is an entertaining and visually lavish retelling of this classic fairy tale. Once again, illustrator Ed Bryan has created a stunning visual landscape in his own inimitable style: quirky, contemporary and wonderfully detailed. Using the same illustrator has created a nice symmetry with their Three Little Pigs app. An original score by BAFTA award-winner Robin Beanland adds drama and emotion, as well as a timeless quality ensuring that even as technology dates, the app won’t.
Cinderella herself is likeable and pretty in an understated way, while her stepmother and sisters have all the hallmarks of pantomime dames. The fairy godmother is an interesting mix with the looks of Angela Landsbury and the voice of a 5-year-old (takes a little getting used to).
What is evident is that Nosy Crow put children and their desire to read and engage with the story at the heart of their book apps, and perhaps this is key to their success as a publisher. Of course, kids have the option to read the book themselves, but there are other interactive features that will help emergent readers connect with the narrative, such as helping Cinderella collect pumpkins, mice and flower pots for the Fairy Godmother or get her step-sisters ready for the ball.
The wonders of the device really come into their own as you change the colour of Cinderella’s ballgown, and for those people with an iPad2 or iPhone4, you can even use the device’s front-facing camera to appear in some scenes in the story. As Wilson says, ‘Our touch-triggered activities aren’t part of a games pack. Instead, they are a seamless part of the narrative, which makes for an exciting reading experience that is different every time.’
Children will find navigation simple enough with a discreet ribbon marker acting as a drawer for thumbnails of each page so they can go forwards or backwards with ease. And once again, a flashing blue spot gives prompts to young readers. Compared to The Three Little Pigs, this book app seems to have a touch more drama, movement and – dare we say – substance. All of which will certainly help it rise swiftly to the top of the pile of Cinderella book apps, and most likely, to the top of the book app charts.
Nosy Crow is a London-based children’s book and app publisher founded in 2010 by veterans of the children’s publishing industry. In 2011, Nosy Crow will publish 26 books for children and young adults, as well as 4 interactive book apps for children. You can follow Nosy Crow on Twitter: @nosycrowapps, and MD Kate Wilson @nosycrow.