BooksForKidsBlog

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Where's A Woodman When You Need Him?" Very Little Red Riding Hood by Teresa Heapy and Sue Heap

Wolf thinks he's got the little girl with basket gig all figured out. He smiles, bows, checks out the contents of the basket for potential appetizer appeal, distracts the kid with some posies, and makes sure he gets into Grandmother's house for the main course.

But Wolf is not quite up to speed on toddlers in red capes. He approaches a small red-clad figure heading into the woods.

"A FOXIE!!" SQUEALED VERY LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.

"AREN'T YOU SCARED?" ASKED THE WOLF.

NOT SCARED! NO TOUCH MY CAKES!"

O-kay. Not exactly as expected, but... close. Wolf moves down the checklist with the offer to pick some lovely yellow daisies for Grandmama.

Very Little Red Riding Hood stamps her little feet.

"NOOOOO! NOT LELLO!!

RED!"

Whatever, figures Wolf, picking a passel of poppies. Now to get into the cottage and he's in business! When Grandmama opens the door, she cries WOLF! But Very Little Red invites him right in for a tea party.

"OH, GRAMMA, IT ONLY FOXIE!" SHE EXPLAINS.

Three rounds of tea, a spot of tea dancing, what seems like hours of drawing and coloring, and one lo-o-o-n-g game of hide-and-seek later, Wolf figures it's time to get this folk tale back on track. Very Little Red insists that she's here for a sleepover. But sleeping reminds her of something serious.

"I DON'T KNOW WHERE IS MY MUMMY!" SHE SUDDENLY WAILS.

A full-fledged toddler tantrum is not on Wolf's to-do list, but he gamely tries recycling some vaguely familiar lines.

"OH, WHAT A BIG SNOTTY NOSE! YOU HAVE," HE COOS (not without a touch of sarcasm.)

There's very little happy-ever-after for this fake Foxie in Teresa Heapy and Sue Heap's crack-'em-up fractured fairy tale, Very Little Red Riding Hood (The Very Little Series) (Houghton Mifflin Clarion, 2014), in which one gets the impression that Foxie, er, Wolf, is hereinafter going to limit his scams to little boys named Peter. Sue Heap's exuberant illustrations propel each page turn, and Teresa Heapy's narration is pure spoofy storytelling goodness. All the stars across the review firmament came out for this one. As the Bulletin for Children's Literature raves, "Heapy captures exactly the sort of afternoon very little storytime listeners long for.... Audiences will love seeing how a mere toddler can make even a mighty wolf feel sheepish."

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