Children's LiteratureRuth Reddingford is a contemporary girl called "Red' because of her name, her red hair, and her red poncho with a hood "just like the girl in another story." When her grandmother can't pick her up for their usual picnic in the woods, Red decides to pack a picnic and go through the woods by herself to Grandma's condo. Two bullies from her school try to catch her, but she manages to reach Grandma's porch. As one boy grabs her, Grandma appears with a Hopi throwing stick. At the same time, a large white wolf not mentioned in the text but a visible observer in vignettes appears in the living room. The bullies are properly subdued. Then Grandma and Red have their picnic, during which Grandma explains that the wolf is Red's Hopi spiritual guardian. A Hopi rug and vases add visual ethnic notes to the moral tale. Naturalistic full-page and vignette illustrations tell the story as dramatic tableaus with detailed environments and characters frozen in action. Abreu creates a spiritual edginess in making a contrast between the sunny early autumn day and the interaction of the humans with the silent white wolf that moves in a surrounding mist. A final scene depicting Red, Grandma, the wolf, and a ubiquitous but unmentioned cat all howling up into the bright sky somehow breaks the mystic mood. The bullies have meanwhile learned their lesson. A portion of the book's profits will be donated to The Children's Global Village. 2004, Illumination Arts Publishing Company, Ages 4 to 8.
Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz