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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Little Red Gliding Hood. Story by Tara Lazar with pictures by Troy Cummings. Random House, 2015. $19.99 ages 4 and up

"But Little Red needed a
skating partner. The Dish
danced with the Spoon, and
Hansel spun Gretel like
Little Red had no one. She
asked each of her friends.
T-t-t- too
c-c-c- cold!
Little Boy Blue just
shivered and quivered."

I can only hope that the children who share this story will have the background experience to make it the most fun possible. It concerns me how few children hear fairy tales and nursery rhymes as an integral part of their reading and listening lives. Fairy tales are perfect for offering a chance to discuss plot, characters and the battle between good and evil. Nursery rhymes help to ensure that young listeners can hear and repeat rhyming patterns, a very important part of learning to read in the first place. Knowing many of the actors who play a role in this rollicking tale will up the understanding and enjoyment.

Little Red is an accomplished skater ... on ice, that is. Her skates don't fit and are becoming more ratty with each trip to her grandmother's house. It won't be long until she can no longer make her weekly visit. Poor Grandma will be very disappointed!

When Red hears that a skating competition will net the winning pairs partners a new pair of skates, she has no success in finding that needed partner. On her way to Grandma's for advice, the Big Bad Wolf makes an appearance, frightening Red so badly that she comes close to taking a terrible fall. It's Wolf to the rescue, and a misunderstanding is quickly cleared up. Wolf protects Red, admires her skating prowess, and wonders if she might consider him worthy of being her partner. He, too, could use new skates.

Red shouts assurance, to those trying to protect her, that Wolf is her partner for the competition after his presence creates mayhem among the gathered participants and observers. They make an awesome pair. To everyone's surprise, they win the prize they both need badly if they are to retain their skating skills. Wahoo!

Kids who know and love these characters will take great delight in Troy Cummings' cartoony creations. They provide the perfect background for the many familiar and recognizable characters from beloved stories and poems. Fresh and full of fun, this book is great for reading aloud to a wide audience who will appreciate the wordplay and the detail-filled illustrations.

"The wolf frightened
Little Miss Muffet away.

She bumped Little Jack Horner
into the corner.

Humpty Dumpty
had a great fall.

And Jack and Jill came tumbling after." 

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