Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Title: The Little Red Wolf
Author: Amelie Flechais
Publisher: Diamond Book Distributors
Pages: 80

The Little Red Wolf by Amelie Flechais turns the familiar story of Little Red Riding Hood, the one we grew up with, the one that reinforced our mistrust of the Stranger as somebody to be wary of, against itself.

In this retelling, it is the Little Red Wolf who is naïve and innocent, and the Hunter and his Daughter, as blonde as in the original Little Red Riding Hood, who are the predators. They are cruel, even though they appear nice.

The Little Red Wolf is sent by his mother with a little basket containing a rabbit to his grandmother’s. Grandma is old and cannot hunt, hence, the gift. But Mother tries her best to warn the Little Red Wolf about the dangers lurking in the forest, the hunter and his daughter who prey on little wolves like him.

And so, Little Red Wolf sets out. At first, he is careful, but by and by, he forgets his mother’s warning. Hungry, he eats the rabbit, bit by bit. When it is gone, he is upset at the thought of what his mother will say to him. 

Caught at his most vulnerable, he is befriended by a young blonde girl, who tells him not to worry. She has a lot of rabbits at home and he is welcome to take one of them to his grandmother.

Things take a sinister turn for him, predictably for us. What will happen to Little Red Wolf? Will anyone heed his cries for help? Or will it be his little head mounted on the wall of the hunter’s cabin?

La Niña and El Niño enjoy it when I read to them, particularly when I modulate my voice to sound hassled and angry and frightened, in keeping with the emotions of the characters.

As I read this story, La Niña winced at the descriptions of the cruelty of the humans which was put on display in their home: the various body parts of dead animals that they had stuffed and displayed on their walls. And it was with an audible gasp of relief that she reacted to Little Red World being rescued by his father.

I was happy to hear that sound of relief.

Children need to learn to be sensitive to the troubles faced by those that aren’t like us, and to denounce the actions of the offenders, even when the offenders are people like “us.”

“My country, right or wrong” was a belief that GK Chesterton warned against. I was happy to note that this retelling helped La Niña to think about the plight of the Little Red Wolf, caught in a situation not of his choosing. 

While the book is 80 pages long, most of it is taken up by the beautifully intense illustrations, which helps us breeze through the book. 

Of course, the book is not so much a retelling as a flipping of the characters on the scale of good and evil. The rest of the story from danger to rescue is predictable.

(I read a Kindle edition of this book through Edelweiss.) 

1 comment:

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