Erin Ramai's Reviews > Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China

Lon Po Po by Ed Young
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's review
Jan 24, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: multicultural-multiethnic, award-winning-and-honor-books, traditional-literature, picture-books, rated-and-reviewed, caldecott
Read on January 27, 2010

I gave this book a 4 star rating. Lon Po Po won a Caldecott medal in 1990. The illustrations combine ancient Chinese panel art with contemporary watercolors and pastels. The reading level of this book is appropriate for children aged 4-8, but can be enjoyed as a read aloud with younger children and as a trip down memory lane for older readers. However, reader be warned, it is slightly morbid.

Lon Po Po is a red riding hood story from China. It fits into both the multicultural and traditional categories of literature. Po Po is the name that the three grandchildren, Shang, Tao and Paotze call their grandmother. And Lon Po Po means granny wolf. The story follows the traditional pattern of red riding hood. The mother leaves the children alone, so that she can visit her mother, and while she is away the wolf comes to their door claiming to be their grandmother. The wolf says that his voice is lower because he has a cold and they let him in—in the dark. While he is lying in bed with the children, he continues to make excuses for his foot having a bush on it, and his hand having thorns on it (a variation on big eyes and sharp teeth). Shang, the eldest and most clever, is suspicious and lights a candle, which the wolf quickly blows out again. Even though it was lit for only a moment, she sees the wolf. Next, she decides to tempt the wolf with gingko. All of the children climb the gingko tree to get away from the wolf. They convince the wolf that gingko is only magical if it is plucked from the tree by the person eating it. But the wolf says that he is too old to climb the tree, so Shang tells him that the children will help him by hoisting him up inside of a basket. It ends well for the children, but not so for the wolf.

This book would be useful when teaching fairytales, especially along with a collection of red riding hood tales from various cultures. This type of study would also lend itself nicely to teaching comparison and contrast of various cultures’ take on a classic tale.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Melissa I agree with your rating! This is an amazing of what we know as the "classic." Did you get to read it to the kids?

Lauma This was a captivating version of the Little Red story. I too, gave it 4 stars. I particularly loved the dark shadowy illustrations. However, I agree with you that it was a bit morbid at the end when they repeatedly dropped the wolf from the basket. I started feeling sorry for the wolf! ...Lauma

message 3: by Katina (new)

Katina I love the illustrations in this book! They are so dark and engaging. It is interesting to see how the classic story of the little red riding hood is interpreted in other cultures.

message 4: by L-Angelica (new)

L-Angelica Herrera-Vest I look forward to reading this book. It is going to be interesting to view a different version of the classic.

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