Have you discovered Luna Kettlebottom and the Magical Cauldron Society yet? If not, I am delighted to introduce you to this delightful group of little monsters who have formed a club to play together. Luna and her pals have a tendency to tumble into famous old fairy tales where they get to play famous characters while retaining their own special traits. Combining two of my favorite things, interactive iPad books and witches, ghouls, werewolves and vampires, Luna and her pals are worth getting to know!
The Luna series currently consists of three interactive books (Luna Red Riding Hood, Vlad and the Beanstalk and Monsters of Rock – See Monica’s review od Monsters of Rock here) as well as one game (Luna Cauldron Chaos). Currently, the two Luna books are free because, according to Luna’s website, “since our mission is to promote and encourage literacy we’ve made our Luna Kettlebottom book series free of charge. But we also well understand that sometimes kids just need to play, so we hope you will kindly support us by spending 99 cents on this great kids game that extends our richly drawn storybook into a fast, fun, game experience.” Edited 10/13 – after offering the books free for a year, they are now $0.99 to help support the developers! Still an absolute bargain.
I cannot say enough good things about this amazing interactive story. On a recommendation, I was sent Luna’s way and as soon as I opened the webpage, I was enchanted by the cute green witch with pink hair. It didn’t hurt that I am a huge Harry Potter fan and the name spunky witches named Luna remind me of a certain character at Hogwarts! In a subsequent conversation with the developers of Luna Kettlebottom and the Magical Cauldron Society, I was amazed to discover that they had never heard of Luna Lovegood!
I quickly downloaded Luna Red Riding Hood and thoroughly enjoyed this retelling of a childhood classic. The members of the Magic Cauldron Society are: Luna Kettlebottom (the cute little witch), Ghoulia (the ghoul who is the oldest and prettiest…according to Ghoulia!), Howl (a werewolf), Vlad (the vampire with pointy teeth) and their dog, Woofenstein. When Luna becomes fed up with Ghoulia’s braggy and bossy tone, she casts a spell that sends the gang flying through the cauldron, right into an amusing retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with Luna and her friends playing the starring roles.
Every activity in Luna Red Riding Hood is designed to immerse the reader further into the story. Each interaction between the reader and the characters, from sending Luna flying into a bubbling magical cauldron to helping the woodcutter sharpen his axe, draws the plot of the story further along.
My little testers and I also had the opportunity to try the Luna Kettlebottom game, Cauldron Chaos. In Cauldron Chaos, players help Luna fly her broom through a forest where they have to pick up numerous magical objects while avoiding the red vortexes flying all around. My testers of all ages declared the game “hard” and kept coming back for more. When I succeeded in collecting all the objects, the game became faster and helping Luna navigate became more challenging!
After I discovered Luna Red Riding Hood, I was fortunate to have a conversation with Andy Babb and David Snyder of Brandissimo!, the developers of Luna Kettlebottom and the Magical Cauldron Society. David, the creative mind behind Luna Kettlebottom, has had years working in television on some of our favorite programs including Thomas and Friends! Since I love the characters, story and graphics in the Luna universe, I really wanted to hear the process that went into creating this world.
From David and Andy’s unique perspective, many of the interactive books available for the iPad are paper books that are adapted to the iPad and include activities that don’t necessarily further storylines. Stories on a tablet platform behave very differently than books or television shows and they wanted to create a new cast of characters to take advantage of this action medium. The Luna Kettlebottom series aims to find a balance between interactivity and storytelling which will allow readers to become part of the story as they accomplish tasks which keep the storyline flowing. These activities serve to expand readers’ imagination and draw them into the experience.
Can you tell that I adore Luna Kettlebottom? Luna Red Riding Hood has stunning graphics, amazing character voices and a fun, engaging storyline from start to finish. Luna Cauldron Chaos is a fun, endless runner type game that allows players to experience the Luna universe in a different way. There is a review posted on iTunes for Cauldron Chaos that I find very telling: “My daughter LOVES the books – and they are FREE! 100% no gimmick FREE! I had to purchase the game just so you guys/gals know that we LOVE your books!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!”
EDITED 10/13: After offering the Luna series free for a year, the apps are now $0.99. My original suggestion still stands — at less than a dollar, these interactive books are an incredible bargain. Luna Red Riding Hood is a fantastic story app that I would have recommended for every iPad used by kids ages 4 – 10. I am delighted that I get to introduce you to this magical world . Join along with Luna and her friends as they continue on their magical adventures together: Luna Red, Vlad and the Beanstalk, and Monsters of Rock.
Books – $0.99
Game – $0.99
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
Seller: Brandissimo!, Inc.