PETITE ROUGE by Mike Artell
Kirkus Star

PETITE ROUGE

A Cajun Red Riding Hood
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A slaphappy and musical rendering of Little Red Riding Hood comes straight from bayou country. Here Little Red is not just a duck, she is also Petite Rouge and she is off to visit her grand-mère who is “down wit’ de flu.” She jumps in her pirogue with her trusty cat TeJean to deliver “a taste a’ dat boudin / or shrimp etouffée.” But who do they run smack into but Ol’ Claude, one big gator. Now Claude also has etouffée on his mind, and Petite Rouge fights him off, but not before he learns where she is headed. He makes tracks for grand-mère’s place, scares her into a closet, and then tries to pull the classic fast one on Petite Rouge. In the Cajun-inflected rhyme scheme that ferries the book forward, Petite Rouge expresses her suspicions: “Petite Rouge, she say, ‘Grand-mère! / I know you been sick, / but I t’ink mah eyes / be playin’ on me a trick.” When Claude realizes the jig is up, he makes a jaw-snapping lunge for Petite Rouge, who, with the aid of TeJean, pops a string of hot-sauced boudin in his mouth. Claude races to the swamp to cool his chops and Petite Rouge and Grand-mère retire for a pleasant lunch. Lyrical and visually hilarious—the watercolors by Harris are sharp-edged and humorously detailed—with a feast of Cajun words and sounds. Readers “be roll’ on dat floor an’ dey laugh deyself good.” (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8037-2514-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2001




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