“Little Red” by Bethan Woollvin

“Which might have scared some little girls. But not this little girl.”

Little Red” doesn’t look like your average fairytale book. And where “Little Red Riding Hood” is bloody like most of Grimm’s fairytales, “Little Red” is not as obvious – but a great deal sarcastic.

Little Red - a humorous interpretation of a dark tale!
Little Red – a humorous interpretation of a dark tale!

Little Red is a clever girl. She’s street-smart and doesn’t need a knight in shining armor to safe her – or a woodsman. Like in the classic “Little Red Riding Hood”, Little Red meets a wolf on the way to her grandmother’s house, “which might have scared some little girls. But not this little girl.” Little Red isn’t fooled – and she’s not your average girl… When finding the wolf in her grandmother’s bed she doesn’t wait to be saved. She saves herself: On the last page you see Little Red on her way back through the woods – wearing a wolfskin. Now the axe in front of grandma’s window get’s a whole new importance…

Everybody knows “Little Red Riding Hood”. Bethan Woollvin, a recent graduate of the Cambridge School of Art, published with “Little Red” another interpretation of the classic, full of dark humor and sarcasm. Her illustrations are made with black, grey and red only, what only underlines Woollvin’s message: Smart girls aren’t fooled – and smart girls can safe themselves! Just look at the book cover – don’t you get the impression “Little Red” is a strong, confident and clever little girl? It’s no surprise that her version of “Little Red Riding Hood” won the Macmillan Children’s Book Competition.

I personally loved this slightly dark picture book with a great amount of humor. But I love dark and sarcastic books and movies, that sometimes are open to interpretation. Although Bethan Woollvin never shows the actual killing of the wolf and therefore “Little Red” is absolutely child-safe, most preschool children might not understand the underlying humor and message of this book.

Bethan Woollvin’s illustrations clearly deserve five crowns. Minimalistic and meaningful. These are the pictures I even would like hanging in my living room – and I love them in a picture book! I had a hard time with the content of this book though. As I said most kids under the age of six might not understand “Little Red” at all and will not be able to value the comedy, sarcasm and meaning of this great book. That being said, Grimm’s fairytales might be a little brutal for most kids as well… That’s why I still give “Little Red” five crowns. You just might have to thing about a convincing story about Little Red’s “costume” on the last page…

More information:
Little Red
by Bethan Woolvin
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd. (April 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1561459178
ISBN-13: 978-1561459179

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