Saturday, January 04, 2014

Through the Woods: I Am NOT Red Riding Hood by Alessandro Lecis

A little girl sets forth with her basket through the forest. A gentle snow begins and she seems to know where she's going, until she meets a shaggy beast along the way.

No, she is NOT Red Riding Hood! That's a red scarf she wearing, not a hood, and that shaggy beast is clearly a big white bear. When he follows form, inquiring what she is carrying so carefully in her little basket, she replies, "Nothing."

Her basket has a different calling: it is for collecting snow, and now just any snow, mind you. The girl with the red scarf has high expectations. The snow she seeks is very soft, paler than milk, more downy than a summer cloud, and scented like vanilla ice cream.

The bear, however, is not intimidated by her her request, and taking her hand they fly above the wood to find that special snow beneath a full white moon. The two play and dance in the snow and the little anti-Red Riding Hood fills her basket as planned. As she grows sleepy, the big white bear escorts her home, where she drowsily gives her new friend the red scarf and observes that, as the bear had warned, the snow has melted and is gone.


Some things, like snow and dancing with a white bear in the moonlight, are ephemeral, says Alessandro Lecis' new tale for a snowy night, I Am Not Little Red Riding Hood (Sky Pony Press, 2013). There is an understated fairy tale mood here, with a definite European feel to this quaint story. With a pale blue and white palette, accented only the red scarf, Linda Wolfsgruber's illustrations contribute to the dream-sequence feel of this story for a snowy evening.

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