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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Very Little Red Riding Hood, by Teresa Heapy and Sue Heap. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Thomas Allen & Son, 2014. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"So Very Little Red
Riding Hood set off
for Grandmama's house.
She hadn't gotten far
when she met a Wolf.
"A Foxie!" said Very
Little Red Riding Hood.
She gave him a big hug."

Has Little Red Riding Hood ever been sweeter? She is so tiny! She is also headstrong and opinionated. It takes only minutes for that to be evident to everyone sharing this twist on the original. In fact, it's a very unique retelling.

Little Red is little indeed...she is likely not much more than three, and she definitely has the demeanor of a three-year-old. Her mother sends her off for a sleepover at Grandmama's house. She's taking cakes, and she's pretty happy about it all. When she meets a tree hugging Wolf (who may fancy himself hiding from view) she is unconcerned. As you can see from the above quote, she has her way with him right from the start.

Showing no fear, and lots of chutzpah, Little Red will not share the cakes and doesn't want a tagalong. She doesn't want his help with anything else either. Wolf is nothing if not accommodating. He gathers red flowers when it is strongly suggested, and chases her all the way to Grandmama's house!

Grandmama is having none of it. She is terrified of wolves. Little Red convinces her to invite her new friend inside for tea. An afternoon of fun is followed by a bout of homesickness, which is only assuaged by a ferocious tickle. Mr. Wolf has found the perfect antidote for her tears. Soon, Red is sound asleep. That seems the solution to exhaustion for he and Grandmama, as well.

Lively contemporary images done in brightly fashioned watercolor and ink are sure to have young listeners keeping careful watch on the action, while commiserating with their counterpart. Keep YOUR eyes open for a clue to the next book in this brand new series!

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