Friday, 2 August 2013

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 2nd August 2013 - "Little Red Riding Hood" by Alison Jay and Katie Cotton (Templar Publishing)

In line with this week's #ReadItMD13 theme week it seems only fitting that our book of the week should be one of the darkest traditional fairy tales. Little Red Riding Hood!

So how is Alison Jay's version of events any different to those that have gone before? For starters it's lavishly illustrated in Alison Jay's trademark "Craquelacquer" crackle-glazed style, lending the book an instantly classic feel. Sticking fairly close to a traditional telling of the story also helps, though here we really are in no two minds that the infamous big bad wolf is a nasty piece of work, hell bent on scoffing Little Red Riding Hood and Granny up without a pause for breath.

What really helped this become our book of the week was the joyous exclamations from Charlotte as she realised that this isn't just a Little Red Riding Hood book, it's a book that playfully lets you pick out any number of other nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters woven into the background as the story unfolds. A gingerbread man taking a stroll in the woods? Three little bigs keeping a very close eye on that wolf. Even Hansel and Gretel are in there, falling hook line and sinker for that delicious looking witch's cottage, and eventually winning the day and trapping the old crone in a cage.

In fact the background details are often quite distracting, and do take your little one's attention away from your story-telling skills so watch out for that one.

Despite this, it's an almost definitive telling of a story children will find extremely familiar by the time they're Charlotte's age, but are still entranced by - perhaps for all the reasons we've been exploring in our theme week this week. The darkest and nastiest characters always hold a child's fascination for numerous reasons, perhaps mostly because children love to see a bad egg come a cropper as a story reaches its exciting finale. That certainly happens here, though not in a gory manner so no need to hide their eyes once the woodcutter comes calling.

A beautiful book. We hate to look like we're playing favourites on the blog and Templar Publishing do seem to hit our book of the week slot with alarming frequency, but this is truly one of the best versions of Little Red Riding Hood that you can lay your hands on. A timeless story that always feels like it has something fresh to offer with a ton of brilliant observational things for your children to discover and enjoy. Superb!

Charlotte's best bit: Hansel and Gretel visiting the witch's gorgeous tummy-rumble-inducing cottage

Daddy's favourite bit: Sumptuous luxurious artwork and a great telling of the story that doesn't mess too much with a winning formula. Wonderful!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Templar Publishing Ltd)