From Blue Quoll, creators of Mr. Wolf and the Ginger Cupcakes, comes another whimsically re-imagined folk tale, this time featuring the story of Puss in Boots. The tale follows some of the familiar classic, but the overall narrative is entirely unique. The ogre can 'transform into all animals' and 'has a thousand chests of gold', but in this retelling, he has one very unique soft spot, a tiny kitten he loves and loses. This little cat grows up to become 'Puss in Boots', the pet of one rather musical son of a local miller.
As a digital book, this one is delightful, with nice narration, music and truly beautiful illustrations. The hand-drawn, water colors featured in this story are from talented Italian illustrator, Lucia Masciullo. I highly recommend watching the video for this app (see the video tab), which has an interview with the artist.
This tale is not animated but it does include delightful interactivity in the form of speech boxes for the characters and lots of sound effects revealed by tapping. The extra bits of dialogue build on the story, keeping young readers very engaged. The re-imaginings of familiar fairy tales by Blue Quoll bring a lot of charm to the genre, quickly becoming favorites of both children and adults. They even make great bedtime books.
This app features lots of easy to navigate settings and is also solidly made. The font is quirky, with a hand-drawn look that suits the pictures beautifully, but could be difficult for some younger readers. I would love to see these apps include word-by-word highlighting with the narration and also a page guide would be helpful. Otherwise, this app is perfect, becoming our favorite digital 'puss in boots' story. Recommended.
Includes text & narration for: English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Vincenzo Pignatelli/Lucia Masciullo
10 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 9
English • French • Spanish •German •Italian •
In a gloomy tower an ogre who can change himself into any kind of animal lives among his excessive wealth. But he only values one thing above all others, a tiny kitten. One day the kitten gets tangled in the string of a helium balloon and finds himself floating away, into the night.
The little cat is transported into the window of a sleeping boy, becoming the much beloved pet of the son of a Miller. This boy likes to play his banjo and becomes well known for the cat who loves to sing/screech beside him. One day the Miller tells his son to go and try to seek fame in the King's City.
As the pair arrives in the city, the kingdom is alive with talk of a chance for musicians and performers to have an audience with the king. As the boy and his cat, wearing boots, arrive they are very excited. But their performance hits a few notes much too high, irritating the royal court.
Soon the miller's son and puss in boots are both thrown in jail where they await their fate of being beheaded, unless they can come up with 'their weight in gold'. Puss in Boots sneaks out of the cage to try to fix things for his master. Through many challenges, the cat manages to get inside the tower of the ogre, where there was rumor of lots of gold.
The cat challenges the ogre, who turns quickly into a lion. Puss in Boots acts unimpressed, so the ogre says angrily that he can impress also by becoming a tiny creature. But when he turns into a mouse, the cat is ready to swallow him whole. Suddenly Puss in Boots remember the ogre who loved him as a kitten and instead of eating the mouse-ogre, he embraces him.
Nearby, the miller's son is awaiting his fate. While he is being presented to the royal court for beheading, the ogre flies in with the cat on his shoulder. The ogre presents enough gold to 'free all the atrocious artists', saving all from losing their heads. And everyone was happy ... the king with his gold, the ogre with his 'kitten' and the miller's son with ... his atrocious singing cat.
More about the traditional "Puss in Boots" tale from Wikipedia: "Master Cat; or, The Booted Cat" (early French: Le Maître Chat, ou Le Chat Botté), commonly known as "Puss in Boots", is a French literary fairy tale about a cat who uses trickery and deceit to gain power, wealth, and the hand of a princess in marriage for his penniless and low-born master. The tale was written at the close of the seventeenth century by Charles Perrault (1628–1703), a retired civil servant and member of the Académie française. The tale appeared in a handwritten and illustrated manuscript two years before its 1697 publication by Barbin in a collection of eight fairy tales by Perrault called Histoires ou contes du temps passé. The book was an instant success and remains popular."