Little Red


Ever since Leo saw “Wolfie”(as he likes to call him) at Storyland (below) last summer, Leo has been fascinated by “Little Red Riding Hood”.

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Apparently, he joins some good company in this.


Little Red Riding Hood was my first love. I have the impression that, if I had been able to marry her, I would have known perfect happiness. -Charles Dickens

In my house, when I was a little boy, it was my grandfather who told me stories. He was wonderful. He told violent, mysterious tales that enchanted me. There were just two or three, always the same, but my favourite one was Little Red Riding Hood. I knew it by heart, but I never stopped asking Grandfather to tell it. I identified with Little Red Riding Hood, I had the same fears as she, I didn’t want to die. I dreaded her death — or what we think death is. I waited anxiously for the hunter to come. – Luciano Pavarotti

So, we’ve been reading the book since last summer. There are lots of variations on the story (what Little Red takes to Grandmother, why she leaves the path, whether or not Little Red gets eaten along with Grandma, and whether or not the wolf has rocks sewn into his stomach, to name a few). This makes it much more interesting than, say, “Hansel & Gretel”, which seems to be always the same.

A “fun” moment in the story is when Wolfie suprises Grandmother. Most old books didn’t illustrate it at all, but these days, there are lots of images of that scene. Here’s how a few different illustrators have handled it, from subtle


illustration by Daniela Chudzinski

to foreboding


illustration by Andrea Wisnewski

to extreme


illustration by Nicoletta Ceccoli

None of this scares Leo. His favorite version is the James Marshall one where Grandmother shouts, “Go away you horrid thing!” before she is eaten. Later she complains that there was no light to read by in the wolf’s stomach — typical James Marshall.

If you want to read the inspiration for Little Red Riding Hood, go here (but be warned, don’t read it over your lunch hour!). And this is an excellent summary of its history and many variations.

3 thoughts on “Little Red”

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