We haven’t discussed a Lisbeth Zwerger book here in a while so as we head toward 2012 lets sneak in one more book. I picked up Little Red Cap – the story most people know as Little Red Ridding Hood – recently and, not surprisingly, I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Children’s Literature review:
This is a reissue of the book that originally was published in 1987. It is a version of the beloved tale of “Little Red Riding Hood.” Once again, children become acquainted with the charming little girl who always wears the red cap that was given to her by her grandmother. One day while on her way to visit her ailing grandmother, she meets the sly and cunning wolf in the forest. He persuades her to wander off the path and gather some flowers for her grandmother, while he rushes to grandmother’s house and gobbles her up. He then pretends to be grandmother and also devours Little Red Cap. Of course, the brave and clever hunter saves both the old lady and Little Red Cap. Zwerger’s beautiful illustrations are an ideal accompaniment to the text as they portray the characters (especially the wolf) with depth and emotion. All libraries should add this to their fairy tale collection.
Unlike some of the other volumes I have covered, this one is perfect for reading out loud. The pages alternate between text – without any unique fonts – and illustrations. Zwerger offers her reliably evocative and playful illustrations that compliment this classic so well.
As noted above, the wolf is particularly charming with a variety of facial expressions to match his deviousness as he tricks the innocent, and naive, Red Cap.
Sometimes Zwerger’s illustrations are more abstract and mysterious – symbolic and thought-provoking. In this case the illustrations are more closely tied to the story. But they are still subtle and soft – they don’t overwhelm the text but set the mood and give a glimpse of the characters. There is still white space and room for imagination.
I will confess that in reading the story I was struck by the implausibility of the hunter cutting open the wolf and pulling out both grandma and Red. But these tales are not realism after all …
If you love the classic tales of Brothers Grimm and are looking for an edition to read out loud this would be a great choice. While many of Zwerger’s books seems more like coffee table art books this one is great for young and old; to read to yourself our out loud