Thursday, August 4, 2011

Honestly, Red Riding Hood Was Rotten by Trisha Speed Shaskan and Gerald Guerlais

Everyone knows the story of Little Red Riding Hood: a young, innocent girl who was brutally attacked by a big bad wolf - a wolf who also ate her poor grandmother! But the wolf has a different version of events, and he's ready to share them now. Get ready to hear a different point of view!

I was immediately drawn to this book because of the illustrations. I love the rich colours and images, particularly around Red Riding Hood. I like books that play with perspective and narratives and get you thinking about the different ways a story can be told. Interestingly, even though this version was from the wolf's perspective and was set up to be his defense, I still didn't think he's that likeable a character. He doesn't put forward that he was framed or anything like that; instead, he says that Red Riding Hood and her grandmother looked so much like apples, and he loves apples, so he had to eat them. To me, that isn't much better than just eating them because you like eating humans; you're still doing something you know is wrong (he doesn't mistake them for apples - he knows they're not apples). Furthermore, I'm afraid that if I keep going down this line of thinking, it's not too long until I get to 'if she's been wearing something different, I would never have done what I did! It's her fault for dressing like that!' and other victim blaming concerns. Is that reading too much into this? Maybe, but Red Riding Hood is often used to talk about predatory actions and rape culture (see also Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce for teens). Anyway, this book comes with lots of helpful material at the end to facilitate discussions between kids and parents/caregivers/teachers. There's definitely lots to talk about.

I read an advance reading copy from NetGalley.

Find it at Amazon.

Read it with:
Little Red Riding Hood by Jerry Pinkney
The Wolf's Story: What Really Happened to Little Red Riding Hood by Toby Forward
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
Me and You by Anthony Browne
Believe Me, Goldilocks Rocks!: The Story of the Three Bears as told by Baby Bear by Nancy Loewen and Tatevik Avakyan

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