Three Little Pigs and the Secrets of a Popup Book is a phenomenal offering in digital form. On the iPad, in particular, it is a unique book offering in a rather crowded marketplace. If it hasn't been on your radar before, it certainly should be. I am delighted to finally have a version of the three little pigs than I can whole-heartedly recommend!
And while this version does have a very 'unsoftened' ending (not only do two of the pigs get eaten, but the wolf is also boiled alive), my four year old did not find this tale scary. I think for fairy tales about personified animals, you can get away with a lot more of the original story, especially if the grizzly elements are not the focus of the illustrations. The visual images are, in fact, very soft compared to the violence that is inherent in almost any retelling of "the three little pigs". The text of the story itself, seems to be taken from a 19th century retelling and has all the charm of a story from that era.
Almost every page has 'pop up' book style interactivity, where you can turn a dial, lift a tab or just tap and drag an item around (with a little bit of virtual yarn fastening the item to the page). It's an enchanting reading experience even before you play with its 'secret' feature. A little icon of 'x-ray' glasses appears at the top of nearly every page. Tap on them, and the book instantly becomes dark, revealing just the physics mechanisms of the book itself. This part of the book is so interesting and fun to play with, that it will be hard to "share" this book with your child the first time you open it.
The book itself captures the look and feel of an old fashioned pop-up book, right down to the sepia pages and hand drawn illustrations. The illustrations are actually from an edition of the book from 1904, giving an 'old fashioned' feel to an otherwise very modern form of storytelling. This is an impressive accomplishment. The whole book is so visually impressive, in fact, even before tapping the 'x-ray' vision, that you will want to share it with other adults, just to show off your iPad & the brilliance of this developer's vision.
This book is not narrated, however, which can be a disappointment for some readers. A future update with narration would be nice, but this really isn't a deal-breaker for this book. The story, once you've read it to your child a few times, is clear from the pictures and enjoyable for pre-readers. The text of the story is from a different era, though, so it can take a few reads to easily narrate it yourself aloud. I found that I kept wanting to say, "Not by the hair of my chiny, chin, chin," instead of "No, no, by the hair of my chiny chin chin."
I also found it challenging to read the book aloud to my child for another reason. This book is so much fun to touch & play with, that I would sometimes have to stop reading in order to remove his fingers from blocking the story. I also highly recommend the youtube clip, below. It is a fun one to watch, as well as a good preview of this books 'secrets'.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
L. Leslie Brooke/Kevin MacLeod [Music]
Game Collage, LLC
10 - 15 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 12 +
This version of the three little pigs is based on the orginal illustrations by L. Leslie Brooke (1904), along with the text of the story that looks extremely similar to Joseph Jacobs, English Fairy Tales (London: David Nutt, 1890), no. 14, pp. 68-72. The text of that version is included here and this book follows this version very closely. From a collection by Professor D. L. Ashliman at the University of Pittsburg.
Full Story (only minor wording changes):
There was an old sow with three little pigs, and as she had not enough to keep them, she sent them out to seek their fortune. The first that went off met a man with a bundle of straw, and said to him, "Please, man, give me that straw to build me a house." Which the man did, and the little pig built a house with it.
Presently came along a wolf, and knocked at the door, and said, "Little pig, little pig, let me come in."
To which the pig answered, "No, no, by the hair of my chiny chin chin."
The wolf then answered to that, "Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in." So he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew his house in, and ate up the little pig.
The second little pig met a man with a bundle of furze [sticks], and said, "Please, man, give me that furze to build a house." Which the man did, and the pig built his house.
Then along came the wolf, and said, "Little pig, little pig, let me come in."
"No, no, by the hair of my chiny chin chin."
"Then I'll puff, and I'll huff, and I'll blow your house in." So he huffed, and he puffed, and he puffed, and he huffed, and at last he blew the house down, and he ate up the little pig.
The third little pig met a man with a load of bricks, and said, "Please, man, give me those bricks to build a house with." So the man gave him the bricks, and he built his house with them.
So the wolf came, as he did to the other little pigs, and said, "Little pig, little pig, let me come in."
"No, no, by the hair of my chiny chin chin."
"Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in."
Well, he huffed, and he puffed, and he huffed and he puffed, and he puffed and huffed; but he could not get the house down. When he found that he could not, with all his huffing and puffing, blow the house down, he said, "Little pig, I know where there is a nice field of turnips."
"Where?" said the little pig.
"Oh, in Mr. Smith's home field, and if you will be ready tomorrow morning I will call for you, and we will go together and get some for dinner."
"Very well," said the little pig, "I will be ready. What time do you mean to go?"
"Oh, at six o'clock."
Well, the little pig got up at five, and got the turnips before the wolf came (which he did about six) and who said, "Little pig, are you ready?"
The little pig said, "Ready! I have been and come back again, and got a nice potful for dinner."
The wolf felt very angry at this, but thought that he would be up to the little pig somehow or other, so he said, "Little pig, I know where there is a nice apple tree."
"Where?" said the pig.
"Down at Merry Garden," replied the wolf, "and if you will not deceive me I will come for you, at five o'clock tomorrow and get some apples."
Well, the little pig bustled up the next morning at four o'clock, and went off for the apples, hoping to get back before the wolf came; but he had further to go, and had to climb the tree, so that just as he was coming down from it, he saw the wolf coming, which, as you may suppose, frightened him very much.
When the wolf came up he said, "Little pig, what! Are you here before me? Are they nice apples?"
"Yes, very," said the little pig. "I will throw you down one." And he threw it so far, that, while the wolf was gone to pick it up, the little pig jumped down and ran home.
The next day the wolf came again, and said to the little pig, "Little pig, there is a fair at Shanklin this afternoon. Will you go?"
"Oh yes," said the pig, "I will go. What time shall you be ready?"
"At three," said the wolf. So the little pig went off before the time as usual, and got to the fair, and bought a butter churn, which he was going home with, when he saw the wolf coming. Then he could not tell what to do. So he got into the churn to hide, and by so doing turned it around, and it rolled down the hill with the pig in it, which frightened the wolf so much, that he ran home without going to the fair. He went to the pig's house, and told him how frightened he had been by a great round thing which came down the hill past him.
Then the little pig said, "Ha, I frightened you, then. I had been to the fair and bought a butter churn, and when I saw you, I got into it, and rolled down the hill."
Then the wolf was very angry indeed, and declared he would eat up the little pig, and that he would get down the chimney after him. When the little pig saw what he was about, he hung on the pot full of water, and made up a blazing fire, and, just as the wolf was coming down, took off the cover, and in fell the wolf; so the little pig put on the cover again in an instant, boiled him up, and ate him for supper, and lived happily ever afterwards.