Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood

Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood

5.0 5
by Mike Artell

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Big Bad Gator Claude will do anything to have a taste of Petite Rouge...even if it means putting on a duck bill, flippers, and frilly underwear. He presents no match for the spunky heroine and her quick-thinking cat TeJean, though, as they use some strong Cajun hot sauce to teach Claude a lesson he will never forget!

The combination of hilarious rhyme and


Big Bad Gator Claude will do anything to have a taste of Petite Rouge...even if it means putting on a duck bill, flippers, and frilly underwear. He presents no match for the spunky heroine and her quick-thinking cat TeJean, though, as they use some strong Cajun hot sauce to teach Claude a lesson he will never forget!

The combination of hilarious rhyme and exaggerated art creates a highly original retelling of the classic fairy tale. A pronunciation guide/glossary accompanies a tempting dialect that begs to be read aloud or acted out again and again. This is Little Red Riding Hood as she's never been seen before: Cajun and ducky.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Lyrical and visually hilarious." -Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Artell (Starry Skies) sets his funky, rhyming retelling in the Louisiana swamp, where a young duck named Petite Rouge sets out to bring her ailing Grand-m re a basket filled with bayou fare, including gumbo and boudin (sausage). Her mother issues an emphatic warning: "Don' stop in de swamp!/ Don' you stop on de way!/ 'Cause de swamp's fulla gators,/ Cher! Dat's where dey stay!" Sure enough, six or seven quatrains later, the duck comes across a gator named Claude, and "Petite Rouge gotta honch/ dat ol' Claude t'inkin' he'd/ like to have her fo' lonch." Even those who don't favor the dialect will laugh at Harris's (Ten Little Dinosaurs) abundantly witty watercolor and pencil illustrations. He excels at comic absurdity, as in the pictures of the enormous Claude stuffed into Grand-m re's bed, wearing frilly pajamas and matching hat, with swimming flippers on his feet and a rubber beak strapped onto his snout to make him look like a duck. Droll visual details include Grand-m re's reposing in curlers, the surreptitious adventures of some mice and an image of the duck's pet cat, TeJean, hoisting a bottle of red sauce in this version, the heroine pours hot sauce over a piece of boudin and tricks the gator into eating it, whereupon he runs to cool off his maws in the swamp. A sassy, spicy outing. Ages 5-up. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Rhythmic verses heavy with Cajun dialect tell how Petite Rouge takes "di gumbo an' t'ree or two sweater" to her sick grand-mére's through the swamp, in the pirogue with the push pole. Claude, "dat ol' gator" is her wily menace, but she, with the help of her cat and some boudin with Hot Sauce, sends him running back to the swamp. Grand-mére comes out of the closet where she has hidden so they can enjoy the goodies and a nap, while Claude decides to stay clear of people. Harris's double-page, colored watercolor and pencil drawings focus on the very animated adventures of his engaging trio. Our heroine is a charming duckling, her cat is quick-witted, and Claude is as comic a villain as we can remember. A friendly mouse goes along for the sport and eventual "eatin'." The delightful romp includes parodies of famous paintings on the walls. The history of the Cajun people is an added note, along with a glossary. The language makes for a difficult read-aloud, but one full of flavor. 2001, Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Putnam, $15.99. Ages 5 to 9. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-A wonderful, sly, and humorous story told in rhyme and illustrated with verve. Artell avoids the temptation to throw in too many unfamiliar words, and places the handful of definitions for the Cajun terms he does use in a glossary at the beginning. The amusing verse scans well; the watercolor-and-pencil illustrations teem with details of Cajun life and add immeasurably to the fun. Petite Rouge is a goose in this version, with a perky cat, TeJean, for a companion. Readers are challenged to find a little mouse that appears in each picture and watches all of the goings-on. Of course, instead of the big bad wolf, there is Claude, "dat ol' gator," who frightens Grand-m re into a closet and dons her clothing. When Rouge and TeJean notice Grand-m re's huge teeth and realize they're in trouble, they throw a boudin (sausage) drenched in hot sauce into the villain's mouth, which does the trick. Claude, who thinks he has eaten Petite Rouge, jumps into the swamp to cool off. The last illustration shows him still dressed in Grand-m re's pajamas, lying by his cypress tree, with signs all around him that say: "Don' feed dis gator." The text explains, "Ol' Claude reckon people/be too hot to eat./He don' know dat de hot sauce/done made all de heat." All in all, a treat from start to finish.-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A slaphappy and musical rendering of Little Red Riding Hood comes straight from bayou country. Here Little Red is not just a duck, she is also Petite Rouge and she is off to visit her grand-mère who is "down wit' de flu." She jumps in her pirogue with her trusty cat TeJean to deliver "a taste a' dat boudin / or shrimp etouffée." But who do they run smack into but Ol' Claude, one big gator. Now Claude also has etouffée on his mind, and Petite Rouge fights him off, but not before he learns where she is headed. He makes tracks for grand-mère's place, scares her into a closet, and then tries to pull the classic fast one on Petite Rouge. In the Cajun-inflected rhyme scheme that ferries the book forward, Petite Rouge expresses her suspicions: "Petite Rouge, she say, ‘Grand-mère! / I know you been sick, / but I t'ink mah eyes / be playin' on me a trick." When Claude realizes the jig is up, he makes a jaw-snapping lunge for Petite Rouge, who, with the aid of TeJean, pops a string of hot-sauced boudin in his mouth. Claude races to the swamp to cool his chops and Petite Rouge and Grand-mère retire for a pleasant lunch. Lyrical and visually hilarious—the watercolors by Harris are sharp-edged and humorously detailed—with a feast of Cajun words and sounds. Readers "be roll' on dat floor an' dey laugh deyself good." (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.88(w) x 11.38(h) x 0.38(d)
870L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Mike Artell is an award-winning children's book author, illustrator and television cartoonist. Mike's books include nationally recognized lift-the-flap board books for small children and non-fiction books for older children. Mike has also written and illustrated teacher and parent resource books on subjects as diverse as ecology, parties, drawing and young authorship. In addition to his work as an author and illustrator, Mike also has extensive experience as:

· A musician who plays guitar, bass, keyboard and blues harmonica.
· A storyteller who regularly performs original poems and tales.
· A newspaper editorial cartoonist.
· A magazine and greeting card writer and cartoonist.
· A keynote speaker for major educational conferences.
· A marketing consultant/board member for several high technology companies.
· The host of his own television cartooning show.

Each year, Mike shares his books and his writing/drawing techniques with thousands of students at dozens of schools across the country. During that same year, Mike typically writes and illustrates 2 books, conducts 6 teacher workshops, addresses 10 educational conferences and visits 6 libraries or children's museums.

Mike also conducts "author/illustrator in residence" programs at schools. Mike has personally guided more than 4,000 students through the process of writing and illustrating their own picture books. For this work, Mike was recognized by the Northshore (LA) chapter of the International Reading Association for "exemplary service in the promotion of literacy."

Several of Mike's books have been award-winners. Most recently, Mike's astronomy book for children, Starry Skies, was named a 1998 Best Science Book For Children by Science Books and Films magazine, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Mike's books have also been named "Pick of the Lists" by Publisher's Weekly, "Top 100" by Curriculum Administrator Magazine and "Teacher's Choice" by Learning Magazine.

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Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Delightfully engaging for children of all ages. I purchased it for kindergarten level and they could not hear it enough. The use of rhyme, dialect in addtion to the beautiful illustrations make it a must have for both the classroom and home. A great time will be had by all!
Ella_Mentry1 More than 1 year ago
I bought this book at a teacher's reading conference in Savannah, Georgia because when the author read it to us teachers I could not stop laughing. I read it each year to my students, and they adore it and always want me to read it again (these are 6th graders too!!!) Now, I read it to my daughter who is six. This is her all time favorite book. She loves the Cajun voices I do while reading and the illustrations especially the cat. I highly recommend it to all educators and parents alike.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is truly one of my 4 year-old daughters' favorite books, as well as one of mine. Very well written and very entertaining. Written so that any storyteller can read it in a perfect cajun dialect, your child will want it read over to them again and again. Highly recommended reading for young and old alike!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My 6th Grade teacher read this book to outr class today in her fake cajun accent and it was hilarius. I would reccommend this book for young children !