Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Little Red Renditions

More Fractured Fairy Tales!!!

This time it's Little Red's turn. Little Red Riding Hood is one of the Brothers Grimm classics that children learn by heart. Variations on the tale come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some of my favorites:

Little Red Riding Hood (retold and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman) - Winner of a Caldecott Honor, this gorgeous retelling is true to the original and a great place to start if you are looking for the classic version of the tale. Be aware: The Brothers Grimm did not shy away from gore or violence in their tales and this one is complete with huntsman and the wolf's pelt nailed to his door.

Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood (by Mike Artell; illustrated by Jim Harris) - What a fun read! I think I developed a Cajun accent by reading a text full of dialect masterfully rhymed by Mike Artell.  Check out the opening verse: "Back in de swamp/ where dat Spanish moss grow,/ I heard me a story/ from long time ago." An ol' gator named Claude stands in for the wolf in this tale set in the bayou. My boys loved his ridiculous grandma disguise, complete with tied on duck beak (Little Red is a duck in this version.) The clever ending is rendered in perfect Cajun fashion and involves hot sauce. I will not say anymore. If you can't get enough Cajun fairy tales, try Three Little Cajun Pigs by the same team.

Carmine: A Little More Red (by Melissa Sweet) - This elaborately layered retelling casts Carmine (a shade of red) in the roll of Little Red. She is an artist and this is an alphabet book highlighting the vocabulary that drives the story. With her trusty dog Rufus, Carmine sets off to join Granny for alphabet soup, but she stops to paint along the way. Yes, there is a wolf, but since nothing else is typical about the classic Little Red in this story, neither is the ending! A unique and colorful offering by artist Melissa Sweet (and the first book she has written AND illustrated!).

Auntie Tiger (by Laurence Yep; illustrated by Insu Lee) - Pair ancient China, sibling rivalry, and trickster tales and you've got Auntie Tiger. Two sisters constant fighting gets them in trouble when they invite a tiger disguised as Auntie into the house while their mother is out. But when the younger girl gets gobbled, the older sister realizes she should have done more to protect her. Using her wits, she outsmarts the tiger and finds a way to get her sister back.

Betsy Red Hoodie (by Gail Carson Levine; illustrated by Scott Nash) - Now here's a different take on the tale. Betsy is one of the shepherds of Bray Valley. And who is the other? Zimmo the wolf. Betsy has to take the sheep with her as she travels to grandma's house, but she tells Zimmo to stay home: "Wolves aren't good for grandmas." Zimmo begs to go, however, and Betsy gives in. This quirky tale moves along with a regular dose of pun-filled and sassy speech-bubbles from the sheep. As they get closer to grandma's, Zimmo runs off. Could Betsy have been wrong about him?

Little Red Hot (by Eric A. Kimmel; illustrated by Laura Huliska Beith) - A southwestern retelling complete with red hot chili pepper trickery. SeƱor Lobo doesn't stand a chance.

And here's one more from a previous post:


  1. These all look sooooooo good! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi, can i ask you something? You seem to know a lot about children books and illustrations. The thing is, I’m looking for children books with “scary” animal illustrations like the big bad wolf (or a fox) eating pigs (or seven kids or Red Riding hood or birds in Chicken Little) or being pictured with a fat stomach. Could be any other animal as well. I need it for my research. Any sort of help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    1. Funny... I just read your question through Susanna Leonard Hill! I'm going to suggest perusing the 398-398.8 call numbers for fairy/folk tales at the library. The classic versions are a good bet for scarier illustrations. Check out Little Rd Riding Hood from the top of this post. I think there is a big belly drawing of the wolf.