Pretty Salma: A Little Red Riding Hood Story from Africa
Niki Daly, . . Clarion, $16 (29pp) ISBN 978-0-618-72345-4
The story of Little Red Riding Hood is reinvented for a new audience in this colorful retelling of the classic fairy tale. Set against the backdrop of West Africa, the famous red-caped heroine expands her fashion horizons by donning a more culturally appropriate ensemble than the classic red hood ("Salma put on her blue scarf, her stripy ntama, her pretty white beads and her yellow sandals"). Detailed illustrations play out a multi-hued environment bustling with activity, from the natives carrying food in baskets on their heads, to cars driving by, crammed with passengers. Initially Daly sticks to the traditional storyline, sending Salma out on an errand to help Granny and then encountering the wolf-like Dog. The latter character is somewhat less frightening than in the original story, making some threats that he fails to follow through on. The author then mixes the plot up a bit by employing some African-influenced devices like a boogeyman mask and native drums. In fact, it is these tools, along with help from Salma's grandfather, that help save the day and reverse the endangered Granny's fate. This version will appeal to a new generation of readers with its fast pace, vibrant imagery and final universal message where good triumphs over evil. Ages 5-8.
Reviewed on: 04/16/2007