The weakest point in Little Red Riding Hood is arguably Little Red's inability to spot the wolf in grandma's clothing, so to speak. Not so in Woollvin's savvy rendition. Few details change in the story itself, but the tone, strategic page turns, and clever illustrations inject some welcome humor and intelligence into this classic tale. Using a palette of only black, white, and red, Woollvin sends Little Red into the woods, where she is soon stopped by a hulking wolf—"Which might have scared some little girls. But not this little girl." Unfazed by the encounter, she continues to Grandma's, where things get a refreshing twist. Noticing the door is ajar, the girl peeks through the window and sees "a badly disguised wolf waiting in Grandma's bed!" Not to worry. Little Red is one tough cookie, and she has a plan. And an axe. Spare illustrations zoom in on Little Red's calculating gaze and diffuse the story's usual tension with subtle humor. A smart, empowering retelling suitable for storytimes. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Several recent versions of Little Red Riding Hood have reimagined its gentle basket-carrier as a caped heroine with attitude, and British newcomer Woollvin's retelling follows suit. The text and artwork are smart and economical: thickly stroked trees create a sense of goofy comedy, and a stripped-down palette of black, white, and soft gray makes Little Red's vermilion cape and boots stand out with exclamatory force. The wolf's feathery tail and sharklike snout loom, but his demand to know where Little Red is going doesn't faze her. It "might have scared some little girls," Woollvin writes, in a phrase repeated throughout, "but not this little girl." A droll close-up of the wolf's head shows a dinner plate with Little Red and Grandma in his brain space, a fork and knife on either side. At Grandma's, Little Red sees through the wolf's disguise. There's a hatchet in a stump outside, and another tight close-up shows Little Red's eyes shifting to the right. With a page turn and no further explanation, Little Red returns home wearing a wolf suit and a toothy grin. It's fairy tale revenge that leaves the details to readers' imaginations. Ages 5–9. (Apr.)
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