Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion

Alex T. Smith. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-91438-3
In a freewheeling reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood, Smith (the Claude series) transplants the story to a contemporary setting in an unspecified African nation and introduces Little Red, a spindly-limbed girl who’s more than a match for the lion standing in for the tale’s traditional wolf. When Little Red’s Auntie Rosie breaks out with spots all over her skin, Little Red leaps to deliver the needed “spot medicine.” Her journey is far more fun than that of her predecessor (“Little Red walked under the giraffes, over the sleepy crocodiles, and past the chattering monkeys”), eventually meeting the lion, who devises a five-step plan for eating Little Red and Auntie Rosie. Smith’s narration is perfectly pitched to be read aloud (“This had not been part of the Lion’s plan,” he writes after Little Red twists his unruly mane into 20+ braids with a bow capping each one), and the vibrantly colored and playfully detailed illustrations are just as entertaining. It’s a spry and very funny retelling with a heroine whose savvy and take-charge attitude carry the day. Ages 3–5. Agency: Arena Illustration. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/16/2016
Release date: 07/26/2016
Genre: Children's
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