Little Red and the Cat Who Loved Cake

Barbara Lehman. Clarion, $18.99 (64p) ISBN 978-0-358-31510-0
This inventive, largely wordless “Little Red Riding Hood” remix begins as bearded Big Red and young Little Red, both pale-skinned and red-haired, together bake a cake at the Pat-a-Cake Bakery. Their speech balloons contain not words, but pictures that initially show someone with gray hair and spectacles—Grandma, presumably—before Little Red sets off with the cake. The duo’s golden cat (whose pictorial cake thoughts border on the obsessive), follows Little Red through a village whose storefronts feature famous nursery rhyme characters (“Humpty-Dumpty Insurance”) and whose denizens are of varying skin tones. When the cat thinks it will be spotted, it flattens itself hilariously against handy cat images, such as a band poster and a park monument of Puss in Boots. Upon the feline’s arrival at Grandma’s house, the fairy tale undergoes another twist. Lehman fills the spreads with information and diversion: there are hidden sheep to find, nursery rhyme characters to identify (one pair in the park, for example, falls down a hill and bumps their heads), and a nursery rhyme newspaper on the endpapers to read. Yet there’s no excess busyness—the Caldecott Honoree’s clean, clear lines offer a sense of structured calm. Ages 6–9. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/02/2021
Release date: 11/02/2021
Genre: Children's
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