cover image Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood

Gennady Spirin, Marshall Cavendish, $18.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7614-5704-6

In his retelling of the Brothers Grimm story, Spirin paints exquisitely, presenting figures in a palette of sun-faded colors with careful attention to historical detail. White pages serve as backdrops for the characters, who often stand on delicately drawn lines that run along the foot of the page. Much of the action unfolds in the grandmother’s canopy bed. The wolf, magnificently dressed in a slashed doublet and red breeches, leaps in to swallow the grandmother; soon after, Red Riding Hood crawls up onto the tufted counterpane to peer into his ears, poke his soft eyelids, and examine his lovely white teeth. Her traditional skirt and leather shoes are shown in dazzlingly close detail, and her lips purse—Spirin paints her as a very young child—as she counts the wolf’s teeth. While Spirin stays true to the original story, his treatment is decorous: grandmother and Red Riding Hood emerge from the wolf’s belly without even a disturbance of his clothing. Owning Spirin’s work is the closest thing to having an Old Masters painting of one’s own. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)