Red

Jed Alexander. Cameron Kids (Abrams, dist.), $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-944903-11-4
Riffs on “Little Red Hiding Hood” are many, but there’s always room for more, especially when they’re as good as this. In dense and delicate black lines, debut author-artist Alexander constructs a forest thick with trees for the small girl to traverse. But before readers even reach the title page, there are hints that this wordless story may not follow the expected trajectory: an opening spread shows the enormous and slyly smiling wolf walking toward Grandmother’s cabin, bags of party hats and wrapping paper in its jaws. Red herself is a squat, no-nonsense heroine decked out in heavy black boots and a red hoodie sweatshirt. She’s intercepted by the wolf, whose bulk and giant, lustrous tail almost seem to engulf her. The wolf seems to be toying with Red—or distracting her, perhaps. Foxes carrying red balloons sneak past as the two talk, and squirrels scurry by with trailing streamers. Alexander dials back the danger while still maintaining a degree of suspense: the only thing getting eaten in his version of the story is birthday cake. Ages 4–8. Agent: Abigail Samoun, Red Fox Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/12/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
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