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Cloaked in Red

Cloaked in Red

4.0 8
by Vivian Vande Velde

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Eight witty stories that parody the Little Red Riding Hood tale


Eight witty stories that parody the Little Red Riding Hood tale

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
These are wonderful stories—very odd takes on Red Riding Hood, for already-cynical readers, in other words, teens. The introduction is absolutely not to be missed. "... a mother sends her daughter into the woods, where there is not only a wolf, but a talking, cross-dressing wolf... [Red Riding Hood's] actions clearly show that she is much too young, or too dimwitted, to be allowed out of the house alone." Other examples of irresponsible adults' behavior in fairy tales abound. Goldilocks' parents... "not only let her play in the bear-infested woods, they neglect to give her that most basic advice: ?Don't break into strangers' homes.'" The fathers in Rumpelstiltskin and Rapunzel would not win any prizes, either. And we are definitely not discussing stepmothers. Now we come to the stories. "Once upon a time" is made a little more specific—"after fashion was discovered, but before people had makeovers on TV" and "before department stores and designer labels." The heroine is often given a name—Meg, Georgette, Roselle, and Nelda, for example, and a personality. These young women can think for themselves, and are often memorable. Some of the stories are written from the wolf's point of view. Wolves are, of course, wild animals, even in fairy tales, and these wolves either misunderstand human language and behavior (which can be clever and funny) or understand them all too well (in which case, the atmosphere can suddenly turn quite dark). The reader needs to suspend disbelief and let imagination run wild. Recommended. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
VOYA - Kim Carter
Convinced that the story of Little Red Riding Hood is "the perfect example of the exact opposite of a good story," Vivian vande Velde offers eight new versions, each attempting to redeem the misbegotten tale, serving up a new imagining of this old standard: fashion-challenged Meg, whose mother insists on dying her favorite cloak bright red; Nelda, the resourceful young widowed granny, and her annoyingly persistent and narcissistic suitor Gladwyn, the woodcutter; Roselle and her werewolf grandmother; helpful but near-sighted Deems, the wood gatherer; the young seamstress, Georgette, who, longing for a child of her own, creates an amazingly lifelike doll with a red riding cloak; a wolf plagued by miscommunication; ne'er-do-wells Willy and Jakob, a couple of brothers who live in their own fantasy world; and a fairy godmother's naming-day wish gone awry. An iconoclastic mix of fairy tale format and modern day zeitgeist ("Once upon a time, before department stores and designer labels, there was a young seamstress named Georgette.") Vande Velde's stories poke fun at both classic and current culture. The author's note provides a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek introduction through analyzing the classic versions of Little Red Riding Hood in relation to the elements of a good story, setting up Cloaked in Red particularly well for use in middle-school English/language arts classes. Erstwhile young authors, fairy tale aficionados, and young readers in search of some light fun will enjoy this brief collection of short stories. Reviewer: Kim Carter
VOYA - Abigail Gill
I enjoyed reading Cloaked in Red, with its eight separate spoofs of the age-old fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. Each short story is full of color, bold, eccentric characters, and witty language. I especially like the stories' ties to other well-known fairy tales. Reviewer: Abigail Gill, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal
Gr 7–9—Vande Velde adds to her collection of twisted fairy tales with these eight versions of "Little Red Riding Hood." Following a tongue-in-cheek author's note in which the author analyzes the premise and characterization in the traditional tale, she asserts that "'Little Red Riding Hood' is a strange and disturbing story that should probably not be shared with children." Her new, often creepy personalities and situations are created around the classic narrative and dialogue patterns. One story brings in the woodcutter as a villainous kidnapper of little girls while another introduces Granny as a werewolf. Sarcasm and satire are also present in a couple of the stories with the Brothers Grimm featured as bumbling sons of the woodcutter while in another the red cloak itself is personified to foreshadow the appearance of a notorious red cape belonging to a certain superhero of the 20th century. Through it all, the Little Reds of Vande Velde's imagination prevail and outsmart each new challenge. Bizarrely comedic, this slender anthology will leave older readers with some "ha-ha" moments when reflecting on the absurdity of each new scenario and conclusion. A possible segue into creative-writing workshops and assignments or just another fun read.—Rita Soltan, Youth Services Consultant, West Bloomfield, MI
Kirkus Reviews

The opening salvo is an author's note in which veteran writer Vande Velde neatly deconstructs and skewers the original Little Red Riding Hood story--and then proceeds to write eight variations on it. Each begins with tongue stuffed in cheek: "Once upon a time, after fashion was discovered but before people had makeovers on TV"; "Once upon a time, before online dating services...." Other tales appear now and then, too, as in "The Little Red Headache," told from the wolf's point of view, in which he is haunted by a dream of three little pigs, or "Deems the Wood Gatherer," whose neighbor's house looks entirely like a baked treat. "Little Red Riding Hood's Family" not only provides readers with a Granny who is a (were)wolf but also pokes pointedly at the whole glittery vampire thing. The red riding hood itself has a spell and a story of its own, the last told with a delicious connection to "a certain superhero" in a time not so very long ago. Lightweight but cozy and versatile, it's much funnier than the solemn cover lets on. (Fractured fairy tales. 9-14)

Stephanie Zvirin
After gleefully ripping giant holes in the fabric of the familiar “Little Red Riding Hood” (“We’ll just call our youngest daughter after an article of clothing”), Vande Velde, the Edgar Award–winning author, offers eight quirky versions of her own. LRRH isn’t always the main character in these “once upon a time” yarns, which blend wry contemporary commentary with fractured-fairy-tale elements, quirky horror, and a subtle bit of...

Product Details

Amazon Childrens Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.80(d)
920L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Vivian Vande Velde started writing to avoid housework and has authored more than twenty books. She and her husband, Jim, the parents of one grown daughter, live in Rochester, New York.

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Cloaked in Red 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first vivian vande velde book, and i loved it. Very amusing and enjiyable to read.
smg5775 7 months ago
8 short stories that are variations of Little Red Riding Hood. Imaginative and thought provoking. I liked the fresh look of the story and how the villain is not always the wolf.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Some fairy tales are just problematic. Rumpelstiltskin's motivations are fuzzy at best. Does Rapunzel's mother really need lettuce that badly? Then you have Little Red Riding Hood. How oblivious can one child be? Why was she left unsupervised in the woods? Why a red hood at all? Many questions. Not so many answers. Plenty of opportunities for new retellings in Cloaked in Red (2010) by Vivian Vande Velde. This collection runs in the same vein as Vande Velde's earlier collection The Rumpelstiltskin Problem. An author's note starts the volume in which Vande Velde outlines the numerous problems with the original Little Red Riding Hood. In the eight stories in this collection Vande Velde offers a different slant on the story. "Little Red Riding Hood's Family" offers a very clever, whimsical explanation of why Little Red would not be concerned to find her grandmother looking like a wolf. "Granny and the Wolf" delves deeper into the relationship between Granny and the woodcutter (not to mention the wolf). "Deems the Woodcutter" is a delightful story about a myopic woodcutter who misguidedly helps quite a few familiar fairy tale characters while out gathering wood. While this collection ignores some of the darker undertones of the Perrault* version of the story--and only nods to the Grimm version in "Why Willy and His Borther Won't Ever Amount to Anything" without mentioning Perrault at all--the collection is solid with a range of stories to appeal to readers of every age and persuasion. With a snappy tone and amusing starts to every story along the lines of "Once upon a time, before department stores and designer labels . . ." Cloaked in Red is filled with stories that are approachable and fun. This would be a great collection to pair with picture book versions of Little Red Riding Hood, to read aloud, or even to use as a primer on short story writing. *The moral from the Perrault story is as follows: "Children, especially attractive, well bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf. I say "wolf," but there are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are the most dangerous ones of all." It's safe to say the moral is hinting at a bit more than actual wolves. Possible Pairings: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, The Curiosities by Tessa Gratton, Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff, The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Enchanted by Alethea Kontis, The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
That cover. Anyway this was interesting with different takes on Red Riding Hood or similar in theme, etc. Interesting none the less.
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