cover image Violet and the Woof

Violet and the Woof

Rebecca Grabill, illus. by Dasha Tolstikova. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-244110-2

Grabill (Halloween Good Night) swaps the forest for an apartment building in this contemporary story-within-a-story spin on “Little Red Riding Hood.” When red-clad Violet and her younger brother must deliver food to a sick neighbor in their building, they set out together, basket, wagon, and stuffed animal in tow. Violet’s imagination-filled narration—involving a “damp, dingy cave” (the building’s laundry room) and “brush and brambles” (stairs)—adds an element of adventure to their errand. Upon arriving at their destination, they discover their “neighbor” silently sitting on the couch wrapped in a blanket. “Wolf!” Violet exclaims upon spotting his suspiciously large eyes and hairy ears. “Woof!” her brother more accurately echoes, and the pair chases the creature down the hallway, where their real neighbor happily accepts a slobbery kiss from the dog and a thermos of soup from the children. Illustrations by Tolstikova (Friend or Foe)—a bright mixture of ink wash, acrylic paint, and pencil renderings in red and yellow, green and blue—layer the pretend forest and the building. And the playful expressions on the children’s faces make it clear that Violet is (mostly) in control of her story—and its happy ending. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Victoria Wells Arms, Wells Arms Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Sean McCarthy, McCarthy Literary. (Oct.) [/em]