N_Allie l's Reviews > Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood by Trina Schart Hyman
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Oct 11, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: traditional-tales

We all know the tale of Little Red Riding Hood. At least we all think we know the tale of Little Red Riding Hood.

In this version of the classic folk tale, retold and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, the ending might just surprise you. This Caldecott Honor story starts out with Little Red falling head over heels in love with a red cloak that her beloved grandmother made for her. Little Red loves her cloak so very much that she is donned the name "Little Red Riding Hood".

When Little Red's beloved grandmother falls ill, it is Little Red who is to take a bottle of wine, sweet butter and fresh bread to her grandmother's house. Before Little Red can leave, her mother gives her very specific rules about what she cannot do in the forest, "Go right away before the sun gets too hot. Promise me that you won't daydream and stray off the path, and don't run..." Little Red agrees and she is off to grandmother's house.

On her way through the forest, naive Little Red befriends a sly, wicked wolf. Being young, Little Red does not know what this fierce animal is capable of. As Little Red is explaining where she is off to, the wolf begins to devise a plan that includes eating Little Red and her Grandmother. In order to get to Grandmother's house first, the wolf distracts Little Red (by having her pick flowers for her sick Grandmother) and fools the Grandmother into thinking he is her granddaughter. The Grandmother falls for this plan and is eaten up immediately.

When Little Red gets to her Grandmother's house, she senses something is amiss. As she enters, she notices her Grandmother looks very different than she remembers. Just as Little Red is figuring out that the wolf is in fact her Grandmother, she is gobbled up.

Soon, a huntsman comes by the small cottage and notices that for a little old woman, she sure is snoring loudly. When the huntsman enters the cottage, he immediately recognizes that there is a wolf in Grandmother's bed. He also notices that the wolf has eaten recently because his stomach is very full. He soon kills the animal while he is sleeping and pulls Grandmother and Little Red Riding Hood out of the wolf's stomach.

Little Red and er Grandmother are very thankful to the huntsman for their lives. Little Red and her Grandmother eat the goodies Little Red has brought and instantly Grandmother feels better.

I would use this book for 3rd grade through 12th. There is more violence in this version than I remember and that is something you may want to keep in mind. The pictures are definitely the highlight of this story. With it's whimsical borders and enchanting pictures, it's not wonder it was a Caldecott Honor Book.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Allie, your description of this book is well-detailed and captivates the reader. Last year, I taught 2nd graders about various tales and Little Red Riding Hood was one of them. I admit, I choose an array of books from the library but did not read every one of them before setting them out for the students to read. As I read this book for a read-aloud one day, I stopped and was shocked at this violent ending! I was embarrassed and vowed always to pre-read! I agree that this book is intended for older readers. Another idea is to have students do a Reader's Theater on various tales- the 2nd graders enjoyed it! Nice summary!


message 2: by Ruth (new) - added it

Ruth It is amazing that the violence in many of the traditional tales we read as children did not register in our memories.... SO, what is the fine line between censorship and age appropriate story lines, particularly in the area of traditional literature? This is a difficult question indeed.


N_patricia Brunner Red Riding Hood has always been one of my favorite fairy tales. When I read this story as a child, I overlooked the violent plot and choose to concentrate on the sweet protagonist Little Red Riding Hood. Now, reading various versions of this classic fairytale as an adult, I am saddened at the violence depicted in this tale.

I agree with Ruth, there is a fine line between age appropriate story lines and censorship. When I was a primary teacher, we would explore many different versions of Red Riding Hood as well as other traditional tales, but this is one that I never read to my students. I now wonder how my students would react to this shocking ending.

After reading this traditional fairy tale, I now look at this story with a more critical eye.

Thanks for your honest review!


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