Gr. 2-4. Eerie humor characterizes this new version of an old tale, set in late-eighteenth-century America. The telling remains largely faithful to familiar versions, though this time Little Red is a boy, whose parents own an inn called Ye Olde Belch. Kids may giggle at the reference to burping, which offers a break from the somewhat scary pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations, reminiscent of Dave McKean's in Neil Gaiman's The Wolves in the Walls (2003). Scenes in the forest are especially creepy: dark, gray-wash backgrounds are highlighted by the blood red of Little Red's coat; almost-hidden, contorted faces peer from tree trunks. The juxtaposition of scary and funny elements makes the wolf's eventual comeuppance (a huge belch he emits after chugging Grandma's Favorite Ginger Ale) a genuine source of comic relief. Although not for the fainthearted, this is a great choice for reading aloud to kids old enough to relish comedy of the spine-tingling sort. ((Reviewed October 15, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Both quirky and silly, this table-turning version of Little Red Riding Hood from a sibling team (Cinderella: An Art Deco Love Story ) features a boy hero who saves his grandmother from the wicked wolf with a fizzy bottle of ginger ale. The story begins traditionally: "In a time not too long ago and in a land much like our own, there lived a young boy." But David Roberts makes an immediate departure with campy artwork brimming with visual humor and early Americana. The text reads, "His name was Thomas, but--for some reason--everyone called him Little Red," opposite an illustration of a saucer-eyed child in a red room filled with red toys. While a woman in his parents' inn tells Thomas tales of "dangerous encounters with dashing highwaymen," a masked man sits half-hidden behind a newspaper. (The top story is about Ben Franklin's proposal to make the turkey America's national bird.) Throughout, the edgy illustrations complement the wry, understated text. When the inept wolf swallows the grandmother in her hoop skirt, he looks more like a red jacketed vacuum cleaner than the scary garden-variety villain. In the All-the-better-to-eat-you scene, the wolf, sporting Grandma's wig and lorgnette, is eventually outfoxed by quick-witted Little Red. The boy's ginger ale makes the creature burp up his grandmother as if she were a cannon ball. This riff on the original has pizzazz (and fizz). Ages 4-9. (Sept.)
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