As she did with Hansel and Gretel (2013), Schenker employs intricate die cuts, patterned prints, bold lines and basic colors to create a haunting journey through the familiar Grimms tale.
Opposite the first page of text, Little Red Riding Hood poses in her cape against a thicket of die-cut vines, through which readers can discern a sun-dappled forest and the ominous black silhouette of a wolf. With the turn of the page, readers see on the recto the little girl’s back as she proceeds into the wood and the Wolf about to emerge from the trees; on verso, her promise to obey her mother is printed within the shape of her image from the previous page. As Little Red Riding Hood proceeds through the wood, subsequent, die-cut pages continue to lift and turn, creating a layered dimensionality. The sleeping grandmother can be glimpsed through the window of her cottage; as the page turns, she is revealed in her bed, while the wolf’s menacing face can be seen through that same window from the interior. The “All the better to eat you with!” moment is suitably terrifying: Cuts in the black page evoke the snarling wolf by revealing the crimson page beneath, but the image is so stylized that it appears almost abstract, its impact emotional rather than graphic.
Schenker’s illustrations and design combine with Bell’s graceful translation to take the breath away. (Picture book/fairy tale. 5-10)