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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Little Red Hood
by Marjolaine Leray
Age Range: Under_5
Little Red Hood is a delightful take on the classic Charles Perrault tale of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. French author/illustrator Marjolaine Leray has created this story out of a scribbled mass of graffiti-esque red crayon and black ink. The first page shows the protagonist as a bright red scribble of a cloak with simple black lines for her face, arm and stick-like legs together with a single stroke of black for an eyelash; the big, bad wolf that looms above her is portrayed as a grey pencil scribble displaying razor sharp teeth against a stark white background. The illustrations, although simplistic in their child-like quality, just ooze style. Leray has managed to ensure with single pencil lines, the expression and body language of her two characters so successfully.
Little Red Hood is smart and feisty. She shows no fear of the wolf, much to his surprise and at every turn she manages to outwit him. When he grabs her from behind she exclaims ‘Oi!’, tells him that he won’t be eating her for dinner and that he has extremely bad breath.
The dialogue for Little Red Hood is written in red ink while the Wolf’s is in black ink. For emphasis, such as when the Wolf roars that he is going to eat Little Red Hood, the text is written in child-like writing – ‘some joooosey red meat!!!’ – the letters getting bigger as they go towards the exclamation marks.
Translated from the French version, Un petit chaperon rouge by award-winning translator Sarah Ardizzone there are only 60 words of text but these have been expertly translated to encapsulate a very British sense of humour.
A real gem, this is an extremely innovative, humorous and cleverly designed book created by a very talented illustrator which is destined to become a firm favourite with children and adults too.