cover image Little Red

Little Red

Bethan Woollvin. Peachtree, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56145-917-9

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.)