Little Red Riding Hood

Beni Montresor, Author Doubleday Books for Young Readers $16 (0p) ISBN 978-0-385-41212-4
No doubt about it--Caldecott Medalist Montresor has a unique, often disturbing artistic vision in his works. This has never been more evident than in his interpretation of Perrault's classic tale. The artist adheres closely to the source, an unrepentantly grisly story that rarely appears in its original form. His Red Riding Hood is a model of earthy innocence; the wolf an urbane, dapper figure turned out with hat and walking stick. Played out against Montresor's trademark dark backdrops, the story unfolds with a theatrical simplicity that accentuates its violent and even sexual undertones. Accompanied by an appropriately gruesome illustration, the tale ends abruptly and segues into an uneasy visual denouement: Red Riding Hood floats inside the wolf's swollen stomach across the final three wordless pages. When the hunter appears in the background on the final page, no clue is given as to his purpose and there is no hint of redemption. Older children and adults may well be riveted by the ambiguity and ferocity here, but youngest readers--raised on more benign versions of the tale--will probably be scared out of their socks. Ages 4-up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
Hardcover - 978-0-385-41213-1
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