Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Story About Being a Fighter

Have you ever wondered why Little Red Riding Hood didn’t realize she was talking to a wolf and not her grandmother? Have you ever imagined her outsmarting the wolf and getting rid of him herself? If you have, then this version of the the much re-told story is a must read.

This Little Red in this picture book is no pushover. She sees the wolf coming a mile away and formulates a plan to spoil his nefarious intentions. This incarnation of Little Red is smart and fearless. Her reaction to the wolf in this story, far from being intimidation, has an irreverent “really?” feeling to it, which is especially evident in Red’s facial expressions.

The general arc of the story follows the traditional telling. Little Red is sent to her grandmother’s house with a basket of goodies and has to cross dense, dark woods to get there.  She meets a wolf along the way who makes Little Red and her grandmother the object of his dinner plans. The difference is in Little Red’s reaction. Let’s just say she goes home in a wolf suit.

The illustrations are mostly black and white and very simple. The bright red of the protagonist’s cloak make her stand out and emphasize her individuality, strength, and no nonsense bravery. Her eyes say that she is shrewd, resourceful, and not easily trifled with.

The original Little Red Riding Hood story is dark and violent. The implication of violence is clear in this version as well. We never see grandma again, the girl wields and axe, and she goes home in a wolf suit. These are things worth considering when deciding whether or not to read the book to your younger children/students.

As for myself, I loved seeing a strong, intelligent female character who was able to solve her own problem and win.

This would be a great book for teachers to use to teach compare and contrast. Students could compare the original story with this version and draw a multitude of conclusions.

See you next Wednesday!

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