Booklist Reviews

In this delightful, old-fashioned version of a familiar tale, Little Red Riding Hood is a "sweet little girl" whose mother stitches her a lovely hood, which the child cherishes and all the village people affectionately recognize. Against a snowy, wooded background, the child sets out in her red cloak to bring Mother's chicken soup and raisin muffins to ailing Grandmother. The story proceeds in the expected way. The woodcutter kills the wolf "with one stroke of his ax" and cuts open the beast's stomach, releasing "the kindly old woman." With lively detail (but no blood and guts) and lots of pattern and colors, Pinkney's watercolors show the predator in nightcap and glasses under Grandmother's patchwork quilt––and then, in a double-page spread, the menace as it appears to the girl: "Oh Grandmother, what great teeth you have!" The pictures reflect the danger and the coziness, and they are just right for their preschool audience. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews

Pinkney follows the outline of the Grimms' version (for once, less grim than Perrault's, which ends as the wolf devours the child): en route with goodies for her ailing granny, Little Red Riding Hood is persuaded by a wolf to gather kindling for Granny's fire; he runs ahead, gobbles up the "kindly old woman" and, later, the girl; both are rescued by a passing woodsman. Setting aside Perrault's darker subtexts, Pinkney keeps the Grimms' explicit moral (don't stray from the path) and essential dialogue ("Oh Grandmama, what great teeth you have!"). His spinning-out of the text ("Put your basket on the chair, and come closer...You're a head taller since I saw you last") somewhat defuses the story's terror but also saps its tension. More engaging than these verbal additions are the details in his illustrations, set in the woods and cottages of what looks like colonial America. At first amiable, the wolf is soon revealed as a toothy (but not too scary) villain; gore and terror are at a minimum (only a shadow on the cottage wall depicts the woodsman dispatching the wolf with an ax). All in all, an attractive take on the familiar folktale, particularly appropriate for groups. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

A gorgeously illustrated version of the classic tale, this time with a brown-skinned protagonist. The plot's traditional, though Red takes "chicken soup and raisin muffins" to Grandmama, and the wolf tempts Red off the path not with standard wildflowers but by suggesting she "collect kindling for a fire." The setting is winter: Snow covers the ground and trees, while tiny red berries highlight evergreens. Pinkney's backgrounds (forests, snow drifts, stone walls) are dappled with light; pencil and ink lines, and watercolor and gouache paint, subtly imply the presence of elusive faces or shapes. They merit extra time for perusal but never distract from the stunning crimson of Red's cloak or the wolf's fascinatingly devious and deviant postures. When the woodcutter chops open the wolf, the viewpoint is from outside the cottage, revealing only a small shadow through the doorway. Meanwhile, a bright red bird stands in a snowy bush as a sign that Red will be fine. A beautiful new rendering. (Picture book/fairy tale. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Library Media Connection

Drawing the reader in through beautifully detailed illustrations, Jerry Pinkney incorporates a non-traditional interracial cast to tell the traditional story of Little Red Riding Hood. The familiar storyline tells how a mother's instruction for the little girl to go straight to her sick grandmother's house falls on deaf ears as Little Red Riding Hood instead listens to a wolf that befriends her in the forest. She is delayed long enough for the wolf to eat the grandmother and then take on her identity. The rhythmic prose of what big arms, ears, eyes, and ultimately teeth you have preludes the demise of the little girl as the wolf gobbles her up. Hearing a strange noise from the old lady's house, a woodsman enters and frees grandma and Little Red Riding Hood from the wolf's belly, ending the story on a happy note. The watercolor illustrations are full of energy and movement that soften the somewhat frightening undertones of the story. Each scene is depicted on a two-page spread that spills off the edges of the page. If looking to add a little 21st century to a fairytale collection, this book is for you. Highly Recommended. Deana Groves, Education Catalog Librarian, Western Kentucky University Libraries, Bowling Green © 2008 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Produced in the same generous format as Pinkney's (The Ugly Duckling ) previous retellings of classic tales, this inviting work opens with a view of the heroine's mother posed very much like Whistler's mother, stitching a certain red cloak as a small window shows snow falling. Next she fills a basket with chicken soup and raisin muffins for ailing Grandmother and instructs her daughter, "Mind you, little miss…. Be certain to go straight there." As the girl sets out, the full-bleed art, rendered in Pinkney's characteristic style, reveals snowy woodlands in which animals and birds are cleverly camouflaged. The wolf, however, appears front and center. He "had a mind to eat her up at once," but the presence of woodcutters nearby deters him, and so he addresses her "in his most pleasant voice." The inclusion of various sounds—the "crunch, crunch" of the child's footsteps in the new snow, the "chop, chop" of the woodcutters' tools, and so on—augments the book's appeal as a read-aloud. The wolf, although seen repeatedly with its jaws open, sharp teeth bared, mostly cuts a comical figure, poorly disguised in Grandmother's nightgown and cap. The writing and the art are spry and satisfying, and with its blue-eyed African-American heroine, this book will be especially welcomed by families looking for traditional tales that feature a multiracial cast. Ages 3-6. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews

K-Gr 3— Snow falls gently on the endpaper panorama just before Red Riding Hood sets off for her grandmother's with a basket of chicken soup and raisin muffins. Although a few other details have been changed, this new rendition of the fairy tale is faithful to the Grimms' original in its denouement and ending, in which a passing woodcutter kills the wolf, cuts open its stomach, and rescues grandmother and child. The double-page watercolor, pencil, ink, and gouache paintings in the artist's distinctive impressionist/realistic style are the draw here. Interestingly, Pinkney has painted a light-skinned black child and Caucasian adults. The mother's lace-edged nightcap, head covering, and shawl; the woodcutter's fur-collared jacket and peasant's cap; and his log-filled wooden sledge pulled by oxen set the story in an earlier era. The beautifully designed and rendered artwork—including snowy woodland scenes, glimpses of Grandma's homey cottage, close-ups of Red Riding Hood, and a very wily wolf—make this book a standout.—Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

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