Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story From China

Overview

This "gripping variation of Red Riding Hood . . . is an outstanding achievement that will be pored over again and again" (School Library Journal, starred review). "The illustrations seem to throb with the mystery and terror of the wolf."--The Horn Book, starred review. Winner of the 1990 Randolph Caldecott Medal. Full color.

Three sisters staying home alone are endangered by a hungry wolf who is disguised as their grandmother.

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Overview

This "gripping variation of Red Riding Hood . . . is an outstanding achievement that will be pored over again and again" (School Library Journal, starred review). "The illustrations seem to throb with the mystery and terror of the wolf."--The Horn Book, starred review. Winner of the 1990 Randolph Caldecott Medal. Full color.

Three sisters staying home alone are endangered by a hungry wolf who is disguised as their grandmother.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This version of the Red Riding Hood story from Young ( The Emperor and the Kite ; Cats Are Cats ; Yeh-Shen ) features three daughters left at home when their mother goes to visit their grandmother. Lon Po Po, the Granny Wolf, pretends to be the girls' grandmother, until clever Shang, the eldest daughter, suspects the greedy wolf's real identity. Tempting him with ginkgo nuts, the girls pull him in a basket to the top of the tree in which they are hiding, then let go of the rope--killing him. One of Young's most arresting illustrations accompanies his dedication: ``To all the wolves of the world for lending their good name as a tangible symbol for our darkness.'' Like ancient Oriental paintings, the illustrations are frequently grouped in panels. When the girls meet the wolf, e.g., the left panel focuses on their wary faces peering out from the darkness, the middle enlarges the evil wolf's eye and teeth, and the third is a vivid swirl of the blue clothes in which the wolf is disguised. The juxtaposition of abstract and realistic representations, the complicated play of color and shadow, and the depth of the artist's vision all help transform this simple fairy tale into an extraordinary and powerful book. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-- A gripping variation on Red Riding Hood that involves three little sisters who outsmart the wolf ( lon or long in Cantonese) who has gained entry to their home under the false pretense of being their maternal grandmother ( Po Po ). The clever animal blows out the candle before the children can see him , and is actually in bed with them when they start asking the traditional ``Why, Grandma!'' questions. The eldest realizes the truth and tricks the wolf into letting them go outside to pick gingko nuts , and then lures him to his doom. The text possesses that matter-of-fact veracity that characterizes the best fairy tales. The watercolor and pastel pictures are remarkable: mystically beautiful in their depiction of the Chinese countryside, menacing in the exchanges with the wolf, and positively chilling in the scenes inside the house. Overall, this is an outstanding achievement that will be pored over again and again.--John Philbrook, San Francisco Pub . Lib .
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-With forceful impressionistic paintings, Young artfully entices readers across the fairy-tale threshold into a story of three girls' fearless battle of wits with a famished wolf. (Dec. 1989)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399216190
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 11/28/1989
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 317,160
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.28 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author


Caldecott medalist Ed Young was born in Tientsin, China, and brought up in Shanghai. He cites the philosophy of Chinese painting as an inspiration for much of his work. "A Chinese painting is often accompanied by words," he explains; "they are complementary. There are things that words do that pictures never can, and likewise, there are images that words can never describe."

Mr. Young has been illustrating children's books for more than twenty years and has won many awards. He received the 1990 Caldecott Medal for his book Lon Po Po, and his much-lauded collaboration with anthologist Nancy Larrick, Cats Are Cats, was named one of the Ten Best Illustrated Books of 1988 by The New York Times.

Mr. Young studied at the University of Illinois, the Art Center of Los Angeles, and Pratt Institute in New York City. He and his family live in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

copyright 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2007

    Lon Po Po Review

    Caldecott Book Title: Lon Po Po Reading Level: Third Grade 3.9 Genre: Fairy Tale About the Author: Ed Young was born in Tientsin, China, where he grew up in Shanghai, and brings his Eastern heritage to his artwork. From the authentic Oriental papercut technique of The Emperor and the Kite to the rich and glowing pastels of Yeh Shen, Mr. Young attains a versatility of feeling, theme, and style. Mr. Young studied at the University of Illinois, the Art Center of Los Angeles, and the Pratt Institute of New York. He now lives in New York with his wife, Filomena. Book Review: The Chinese tale of Lon Po Po, like the European tale of Little Red Riding Hood, comes from an ancient tradition that is thought to be over a thousand years old. The story begins with three sisters being left alone at home while their mother goes to visit their grandmother. The mother warns the children to close the door tight and to latch it. The children do as they are told. Unfortunately, soon after the mother is gone, the children hear a knock at the door and it¿s the clever wolf disguising his voice as their granny. ¿My little jewels¿, said the wolf, ¿this is your grandmother, your Po Po.¿ The children foolishly open the door and let the wolf into their home. The wolf quickly blows out the candle so the girls cannot recognize him. However, Shang, the eldest and most clever daughter, catches a glimpse of the wolf¿s hairy face and recognizes the danger. ¿At once, Shang lit the light and the wolf blew it out again, but Shang had seen the wolf¿s hairy face.¿ The girls then quickly devise a plan to get rid of the wolf once and for all. ¿Po Po, Po Po,¿ she said, for she was not only the eldest, she was the most clever, ¿you must be hungry.¿ I recommend this book for reading enjoyment as it is a book of not only classic beauty, but such charm as well. Bibliographic Information: Young, Ed. Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China. New York: Philomel Books a division of The Putnam & Grosset Group, 1989.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2007

    Here is an encouraging book for readers.

    Ed Young learned discipline and a way of life from the Tai Chi Chuan which in turn impacted his art. He tells his thoughts so others can be inspired he states: Be open to inspiration. Inspiration leads to creativity. Be open to play. In play we see mistakes as Stepping-stones to fulfillment. Be open to challenges. Challenges offer us a chance to grow. It is the willingness of labor that We mature and find excellence. Ed grew up in Shanghai. School was not important to him and he did not take an interest in it. He used his study time for imaging or drawing. Later on, Young ventured to the United States and attended the Art Center College of Design in Lost Angeles. His work was inspired from different cultures. Respect was the word that guided as he toured into the different countries and ancient times through his books. His villain in Lon Po Po is treated with respect, but empathy is not rewarded. Lon Po Po received the Caldecott Award. A mother lived together with her three children, and she was going to see Po Po and would not be home until the following day. Wolf saw the mother leave so he disguised himself as Po Po. There was two knocks at the door. The book says ¿Shang, who was the eldest, said through the latched door, `Who is it?¿¿ Wolf tries tricking them to open the door. What happens to the children? Do they get to see their mother again? Read the book to find out the ending. The reading level of the book is third grade, ninth month. I like the book it tells the readers to be careful no to trust strangers so easily and to listen to their mother. It tells a great lesson and it is a very encouraging book. Young, Ed. Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story From China. New York: Penguin Putham, 1989.

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