Reviews for Little Red : A Fizzingly Good Yarn


Booklist Reviews 2005 October #2
Gr. 2-4. Eerie humor characterizes this new version of an old tale, set in late-eighteenth-century America. The telling remains largely faithful to familiar versions, though this time Little Red is a boy, whose parents own an inn called Ye Olde Belch. Kids may giggle at the reference to burping, which offers a break from the somewhat scary pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations, reminiscent of Dave McKean's in Neil Gaiman's The Wolves in the Walls (2003). Scenes in the forest are especially creepy: dark, gray-wash backgrounds are highlighted by the blood red of Little Red's coat; almost-hidden, contorted faces peer from tree trunks. The juxtaposition of scary and funny elements makes the wolf's eventual comeuppance (a huge belch he emits after chugging Grandma's Favorite Ginger Ale) a genuine source of comic relief. Although not for the fainthearted, this is a great choice for reading aloud to kids old enough to relish comedy of the spine-tingling sort. ((Reviewed October 15, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Spring
In this fresh variant of "Little Red Riding Hood," a young boy outsmarts the wolf by introducing him to ginger ale, which causes the wolf to belch out (the undigested) Grandma. Besides Little Red's crafty solution, this story remains close to the familiar tale, but humorous and quirky post-colonial-American illustrations packed with historical allusions set this version apart. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2005 September #1
The Roberts' third style-conscious folktale remake transforms Little Red into a boy, places him in late 18th-century America and sends him through the woods to Grandma's with a jug of ginger ale. Oblivious to shadows, vicious thorns and leering faces on the trees, Little Red stops to pick apples-allowing the particularly sly-looking wolf to bound ahead, gulp down Granny, billowing petticoats and all, then lie in wait among imported delftware, portraits of George and Martha (Washington) and like period detail. But once he arrives, quick-witted Little Red persuades the predator to down the ginger ale first, resulting in a monumental belch that sends Grandma flying to safety. The wolf develops a taste for the drink, "in spite of its embarrassing aftereffects," and cuts a deal with his intended victim to keep the supply coming. No, this isn't likely to replace traditional versions-but it should nonetheless draw a chuckle or two. (Picture book/folktale. 6-8) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 October #5

Both quirky and silly, this table-turning version of Little Red Riding Hood from a sibling team (Cinderella: An Art Deco Love Story ) features a boy hero who saves his grandmother from the wicked wolf with a fizzy bottle of ginger ale. The story begins traditionally: "In a time not too long ago and in a land much like our own, there lived a young boy." But David Roberts makes an immediate departure with campy artwork brimming with visual humor and early Americana. The text reads, "His name was Thomas, but--for some reason--everyone called him Little Red," opposite an illustration of a saucer-eyed child in a red room filled with red toys. While a woman in his parents' inn tells Thomas tales of "dangerous encounters with dashing highwaymen," a masked man sits half-hidden behind a newspaper. (The top story is about Ben Franklin's proposal to make the turkey America's national bird.) Throughout, the edgy illustrations complement the wry, understated text. When the inept wolf swallows the grandmother in her hoop skirt, he looks more like a red jacketed vacuum cleaner than the scary garden-variety villain. In the All-the-better-to-eat-you scene, the wolf, sporting Grandma's wig and lorgnette, is eventually outfoxed by quick-witted Little Red. The boy's ginger ale makes the creature burp up his grandmother as if she were a cannon ball. This riff on the original has pizzazz (and fizz). Ages 4-9. (Sept.)

[Page 56]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2005 November

Gr 1-4 -Thomas, aka Little Red, makes the mistake of taking off his red jacket while climbing a tree for some apples for his Grandma. A wolf shows up at Grandma's wearing the coat, and-well, you know the rest. The gentle twists on this tale maintain the menacing tone of the original (Grandma does get eaten, in a single gulp), while allowing the wolf to live at the end, content with the ginger ale that Little Red provides for him. This is the third folktale retelling that the Robertses have put their pen and brush to. Having set Cinderella (2001) in the 1930s, and Rapunzel (2003, both Abrams) in the 1970s, they've headed back in time to a Colonial setting, giving Little Red innkeeper parents and Grandma a powdered wig. The stylized pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations use small detail and dramatic perspective to heighten the spooky, Tim Burtonesque effect. Faces hidden in the forest and paneled walls and illustrative asides (famous paintings, a newspaper headline quoting Benjamin Franklin) build visual richness. The frightening, red forest scenes on the endpapers will be devilishly alluring to young readers who like just a little scare with their somewhat silly and comfortingly well-known tales. A very welcome addition to most folktale shelves.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA

[Page 120]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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