Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood

by Gennady Spirin, Marshall Cavendish Corporation Staff

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A classic retelling of Little Red Riding Hood’s encounter with a wicked wolf while visiting her grandmother.


A classic retelling of Little Red Riding Hood’s encounter with a wicked wolf while visiting her grandmother.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his retelling of the Brothers Grimm story, Spirin paints exquisitely, presenting figures in a palette of sun-faded colors with careful attention to historical detail. White pages serve as backdrops for the characters, who often stand on delicately drawn lines that run along the foot of the page. Much of the action unfolds in the grandmother’s canopy bed. The wolf, magnificently dressed in a slashed doublet and red breeches, leaps in to swallow the grandmother; soon after, Red Riding Hood crawls up onto the tufted counterpane to peer into his ears, poke his soft eyelids, and examine his lovely white teeth. Her traditional skirt and leather shoes are shown in dazzlingly close detail, and her lips purse--Spirin paints her as a very young child--as she counts the wolf’s teeth. While Spirin stays true to the original story, his treatment is decorous: grandmother and Red Riding Hood emerge from the wolf’s belly without even a disturbance of his clothing. Owning Spirin’s work is the closest thing to having an Old Masters painting of one’s own. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
There are endless ways to visually interpret familiar folktales. Spirin's lush illustrations in the style of the seventeenth-century Dutch paintings accompany a mostly traditional retelling of this familiar Grimm tale. For the ending he has drawn from a Russian version he heard as a child in which two hunters who chase the wolf outdoors before they cut open his stomach. Instead of a cape, this little girl wears just a red cap. She is youthful and innocent. The roguish wolf on the other hand is quite a dapper dandy in his flamboyant suit and plumed hat. His sharp claws and white teeth, always visible, let the reader know he is dangerous. Careful attention has been given to the layout of this book. The title page presents the birds of the forest, large cameos of the wolf and Little Red Riding Hood, and smaller cameos of mother and grandmother and beckons the reader to meet these characters within the story. The staging of each turn-of-the-page makes the reader feel as if she is watching a play. What a contrast between the well-dressed wolf who approaches Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf who is confronted by the hunters. The scene where the wolf is pouncing on grandmother sends shivers down one's spine. Recommended for a slightly older audience than the Trina Schart Hyman version, which has the traditional Grimm text and a cozier feel to the illustrations. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—This classic Grimm tale has had many interpretations over the years, but Spirin's splendid version is inspired by the lavish Dutch paintings of the 17th century. The jacket, with windmills and Renaissance cathedral spires in the background, sets the scene and centers the heroine in a colorful outfit carrying a bountiful bouquet of flowers and wearing a white brimmed, vibrant red peaked hat tied snuggly under her chin. Grandmother, who is garbed in lace and flounces, and the hunters with their long rifles and Cavalier hats fit well into the setting. The wolf, when he appears, fills the page: he is large and ferocious, and dressed in an elaborate ruffled tunic, braided, wide-cuffed pants, and a broad-brimmed feathered hat. He's the Renaissance man personified, although his slathering tongue betrays his debonair look. Spirin places his characters up front on the page against plentiful white space, giving intensity to the unfolding drama. A simply retold and richly illustrated addition.—Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA
Kirkus Reviews
A cunning wolf leads a guileless little girl astray with nearly fatal consequences in this luscious presentation of the familiar tale. Spirin's retelling tracks the 1812 Grimm version, in which the heroine in her crimson bonnet conveys a cake to her sick grandmother, encounters the wolf, discloses her grandmother's location and disobeys her mother's warning to stay on the path. Racing to grandmother's house, the wolf gobbles grandmother and waits for Red Riding Hood, who's amazed at grandmother's huge hands, ears, eyes and teeth—whereupon the disguised wolf swallows her. Rescued by two hunters, Red Riding Hood promises to stay on the path. Reminiscent of realistic 17th-century Dutch paintings, lavish watercolor-and-pencil illustrations portray Red Riding Hood as a rosy, fair-haired bourgeois girl and wolf as dashing cavalier resplendent in feathered hat, lace collar and silk pantaloons. Textural verisimilitude, dramatic close-ups and unusual perspectives provide frightening intimacy and intensity, particularly in the scenes where diminutive, clueless Red Riding Hood explores wolf's razor claws, furry ears, yellow eyes and enormous fangs. A classic tale tendered with class. (Picture book/fairy tale. 5-8)

Product Details

Amazon Childrens Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 11.60(h) x 0.50(d)
AD680L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Gennady Spirin was classically educated at the Moscow Art School at the Academy of Arts and at the Moscow Stroganov Institute. Influenced by Russian Renaissance painters, Mr. Spirin has developed his own unique style of illustration using traditional Russian art techniques. His work appeared four times on the annual New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Books of the Year list. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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