A bad bunny figures significantly in this twist on the original “stranger danger” tale.
Primed by her mom to “yell, run, and tell!” if she meets a stranger in the wood, Little Red Riding Hood, depicted as a little white girl, flees a sniffling wolf but confides to a sympathetic rabbit that she’s going to Grandma’s: “Mom says it’s not safe for her to be all alone, especially when she’s got so much jewelry!” Rabbit—small, fuzzy, big-eyed, and sporting a cute flowered handbag in Price’s lighthearted illustrations—gallantly offers to accompany her. When they arrive and find the wolf in Grandma’s bed and nightclothes, Little Red assumes the worst. Then Grandma strolls in with a tea tray, followed by a “policeman” who seizes the rabbit and empties piles of stolen goods from the bag. “This is the famous Bunny Burglar. We’ve been after him for ages.” (The wolf, it turns out, had gone ahead to warn Grandma that Little Red had been talking to strangers and to call the cops.) Smallman closes with a set of follow-up questions and activities, but odds are that children will still be left confused as well as amused…particularly after Grandma’s “You can’t always tell who’s bad and who’s good.”
The waters are left a bit muddied, but this is still a serviceable reminder that “yell, run, and tell” is a good start. (Picture book. 6-8)