Happily Ever After: Little Red Riding Hood
Published by New Frontier Publishing
This picture book is a non-violent retelling of the original Perrault/Grimms fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood. The story follows the traditional path of the little girl in the red cape who takes food to her sick grandmother in the woods. On the way she encounters a wolf who asks Little Red Riding Hood where she’s going. On hearing her reply, the wolf runs ahead to Grandma’s house, jumps into the bed and waits for Little Red Riding Hood to arrive so that he can eat her. Red Riding Hood’s traditional exclamations are included e.g. ‘Grandma, what big teeth you have!’ to which the cunning wolf Grandma replies ‘All the better to eat you with!’ In this version, however, neither Grandma nor our hooded heroine are eaten by the wolf. Instead, the wolf pushes Grandma into the closet and Red Riding Hood later opens the closet, whereupon the contents (Grandma excluded) fall out and hit the wolf. The wolf runs away, never to be seen again.
The story presents Red Riding Hood as a regular girl who enjoys a happy, loving relationship with her mum, baking, picking flowers and visiting Grandma. Other normal, everyday events include going to school, feeding birds in the park and shopping. Little Red Riding Hood is shown to have a close relationship with her Grandma too. When she hears that Grandma is sick, Miss Hood offers to take her cake. There are pictures of the two together throughout Grandma’s cottage. Grandma screams to warn Red Riding Hood about the wolf (though the little girl doesn’t hear) and at the end the two have tea and cake together. So, while the story does contain the moral warning of ‘Don’t talk to strangers’, it also shows family members who care for and protect each other.
Illustrator Celeste Hulme does a wonderful job of using childlike, colourful drawings to show Little Red Riding Hood’s journey. Humorous touches add to the fun, such as the wolf weathervane on top of Grandma’s cottage or the saxophone and piano falling out of the closet.
While I can’t deny I’m a fan of the original versions of Little Red Riding Hood in all their grotesquery, this book is suitable for those wanting to introduce children to the quirky and moral elements of a traditional fairytale through a friendly, gentler picture book version.
CKT Book Reviewer
Illustrator: Celeste Hulme
Title: Happily Ever After: Little Red Riding Hood
Publisher: New Frontier Publishing
Published: July 2016