A solid retelling of the familiar fairy tale geared for younger children.
Ford hews to the basic plot most everyone can tell in their sleep: Little girl wears red hood all the time, is sent to Grandma’s with a basket of goodies and multiple parental warnings, ignores warnings and talks to wolf, etc. For all its familiarity and easy reading level, the text holds itself to a high standard. The “big, bad, wicked old wolf” “slink[s]” out of the woods; Little Red Riding Hood stops to “dilly-dally”; the woodsman investigates the “commotion” inside Grandma’s house. Understated humor keeps the tone light: “Although it was a little dim inside, [Little Red Riding Hood] could see that her grandmother looked a bit strange.” The canonical dialogue between Red and the wolf is preserved, though parents uneasy about the traditional ending will be happy to find that this wolf has a zipper in his belly through which Grandma exits bloodlessly. Knight’s watercolors are bright and cheery, the figures defined by thick, confidence-inspiring black lines. They vary from double-page spreads to vignettes that align themselves on the large white pages with the text, which is set in a comfortably large font with lots of space between the lines, making this a good bet for beginning readers as well.
A splendid starter tale that will prepare children for the many more-complex versions that await. (Picture book/fairy tale. 3-6)