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

Lon Po Po by Ed Young
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The Caldecott Medal Winner of the year 1990 was a variety of the famous fairytale of Red. But for this Chinese version, there are three sisters, the oldest Shang, the middle one Tao, and the youngest Paotze, who are left by the mother alone at home overnight. She gave the girls strict instructions to behave and latch the door when she left. The sisters followed their mother instructions, but a wolf that lived nearby saw the mother leave and decided to pay the girls a visit. Dressed as the sisters’ grandmother, Po Po in Chinese, she knocks on the door trying to gain the girls trust and go inside. Once inside, the wolf blows the candle so that the girls cannot see, for they will know that is not their Po Po. The wolf then yawns and feign sleep, in order to get in bed and eat the children soon. Shang, the oldest, wax very astute and noticed the furry tale of the wolf and lighted a candle. The wolf blew it too, but not before Shang got a good look. She offered the wolf some gingko nuts that had curative powers, but to eat them, they had to climb the tree. Since the wolf was pretending to be an old lady asked the dear girls to pick some for it. On top of the tree, Shang explained to her sisters what was happening and told them her plan to lure out the wolf and hurt it. They told the wolf to get a basket and rope from inside the house, so that the wolf could go up on the tree to eat the miraculous nuts. The girls worked together to let the wolf fall and hurt itself each time. On the third try, the wolf fell from so high, that it’s heart exploded. When the girls saw it was dead, entered and latched themselves in the house and slept soundly. On the next day, their mother arrived with baskets of food from the real Po Po and they told her all about the fake one.
Like the original story, this is a book suitable for children. Although the lessons here are a bit different, for neither of the three sisters went against their mother’s orders. They were simply misled by the wolf’s claims on being their Po Po and asking for entrance with the excuse of being old, sick, and tired. With this variation of the story, children could learn from Shang quick thinking, by telling the fake Po Po that she must be so hungry, feigning hospitality even. Shang also showed a take charge attitude. When she knew something was wrong, she acted quick and protected herself and her sisters. She is also an intelligent young girl, for she did not blindly believe in the wolf, but sought out to see with her own eyes if it was telling the truth.
I enjoyed this variation of the story I know since I was a kid. It was refreshing to see an astute little girl solving the dilemma. A characteristic more often used in young adult literature, which is one the mayor characteristics. I was content to see the basic story phrases, like what sharp teeth, furry hands, and that customary dynamic between Red and the wolf. I also enjoyed the change of scenery, where instead of finding the dangerous wolf in the woods, he searched for the girls asset their home.
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Reading Progress

April 3, 2016 – Started Reading
April 3, 2016 – Shelved
April 3, 2016 – Finished Reading

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