The Wolf's Story: What Really Happened to Little Red Riding Hood

Overview

Little readers will love second-guessing this funny, fractured fairy tale that replays the story of Little Red Riding Hood from the poor maligned wolf's point of view.

No, please. Look at me.
Would I LIE to you?
It was the old woman who started it.

Everyone knows there are at least two sides to every story, and if you believe in the big-eared, sharp-toothed villain of LITTLE ...

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Overview

Little readers will love second-guessing this funny, fractured fairy tale that replays the story of Little Red Riding Hood from the poor maligned wolf's point of view.

No, please. Look at me.
Would I LIE to you?
It was the old woman who started it.

Everyone knows there are at least two sides to every story, and if you believe in the big-eared, sharp-toothed villain of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, there's a logical explanation for everything. As our antihero tells it, it all starts with the helpful wolf doing odd jobs for Grandma (are you sure you don't want to sit a little closer?). How was he to know that he spoiled Little Red would come along and ruin a good working relationship? Zooming in dramatically from strategic angles, the amusing illustrations offer visual clues that this is a story to be taken with a grain of salt - and a lot of giggling.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Forward (Shakespeare's Globe) adds to the growing list of fractured fairy tales with this wolf's version of events involving Little Red Riding Hood, delivered directly to readers in often witty banter ("I did odd jobs for the old woman. Called her Grandma. We were close"). But the furry fellow, a self-proclaimed vegetarian, portrays himself as vulnerable and insecure when describing "Little Red." ("Me, I didn't like the kid being there.... I felt left out.... They just ignored me.") Cohen's detailed watercolors shape the wolf's perspectives via different senses; the red-caped girl is depicted through his agape mouth-with many sharp teeth-as a reflection in his deep-set eyes and framed by his furry ears. The illustrations also help play up the discrepancies in the narrator's version of events (when the wolf "help[s]" Grandma try to get down her dress, she gets "a teeny tiny bump on the head that knocked her cold"). The story maintains a sense of humor throughout and ends with the wolf hamming it up yet again: "And if you ever want any odd jobs done around the house... Here's my card." His bookend refrain-"Would I lie to you?"-conjures up an image of the oily salesman. Ages 4-8. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
There is fun galore in this new look at the old story. The much maligned wolf has given us his point of view in other picture books, e.g. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Here, slyly taking us into his confidence, he insists he did "nothing wrong." He blames it all on "the old woman," and assures us that he is a new, helpful kind of wolf, even a vegetarian. He helps out "grandma" regularly, and does not enjoy the weekly visits of the kid with the red cape. From the point where he reaches grandma's house before the kid one day, his story takes an unlikely turn; he ends up in grandma's dress and in her bed. The dialog with the arriving kid is familiar, until she accuses him of eating grandma. Then the woodsman arrives and the wolf flees, indignant at what he calls a simple misunderstanding. "Would I lie to you?" he concludes. Cohen's cover illustration shows the wolf winking at us as we see the red cape on the way to the cottage in the woods, preparing us for the tongue-in-cheek retelling. The wolf, a scruffy creature created in vigorous pencil strokes with added watercolor for landscapes and interiors as well, appears far from the friendly sort his smooth talking suggests. There is almost an unfinished look to the scenes that projects a vitality, particularly in the energy of the wolf's exposition. The double page of "What BIG teeth you have," is a real shocker. 2005, Candlewick Press, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-The wolf's interpretation of what happened in the "Little Red Riding Hood" story tries too hard and misses the mark. He tells how he did odd jobs for Grandma and one day, as the woman was reaching into her wardrobe, she "`accidentally" bumped her head and was knocked out cold. In a panic, he pushed her inside and donned her dress to fool the granddaughter who was knocking at the door. The text has several lapses in logic. In one situation, the girl says, "What BIG ears you have," and the response is "`Oh, these old things,' I said, and changed the subject.'" However, he didn't change the subject since the girl is the next to speak. Throughout the retelling, the wolf poses questions that are meant to exude innocence-"Would I LIE to you?" "I did nothing wrong. Would I?" "Not everyone likes a wolf, do they?" The watercolor-and-pencil illustrations reveal a shiny-faced young girl, a cozy-looking grandmother, and a scraggly gray wolf with sly yellow eyes. They offer interesting perspectives: bird's-eye views of the forest; looking into the wolf's eyes to see the reflection of a small red-coated girl; and a view of the child framed by the wolf's tooth-rimmed mouth. At story's end, the animal walks away with his shortened tail wrapped in a bloody bandage while telling readers that he's still available for hire. Stick with Jon Scieszka's The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! (Viking, 1989) for a humorous, and involving, story of fabricated guilelessness.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A teasing similarity to Jon Scieszka's masterpiece, but without its enormous success. From the tale the Wolf tells, he is innocence incarnate. But his comments to the reader (and the illustrations) paint a different picture. It seems the Wolf was a handyman for Grandma, so he witnessed the kid's weekly visits-visits that made him feel left out and lonely. One particular day the Wolf was out gathering herbs (he's vegetarian) and spotted Little Red bearing her basket laden with dentist's-nightmare toffee. Taking the shortcut to warn Grandma to hide her teeth, he found her reaching for a dress and witnessed the fall and subsequent unconsciousness. Readers know the rest. Cohen's detailed watercolors echo the wolf's two-sidedness: One moment he appears to be a hardworking laborer, the next he is looking sly-eyed at Grandma. The final page shows him with a hobo's stick over one shoulder, a bandaged stump of a tail and a sly look in his eye, looking for his next job: "No, please. Look at me. Would I lie to you?" Well, would he? (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763627850
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 10/11/2005
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 248,378
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.36 (w) x 10.05 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

TOBY FORWARD is the author of many books for children, including SHAKESPEARE'S GLOBE. He has also written for adults and is currently working on a Victorian detective story. Toby Forward lives in Liverpool, England, with his wife and two daughters.

IZHAR COHEN's artwork has appeared in everything from the pages of the TIMES of London to postage stamps and calendars. THE WOLF'S STORY is his first book with Candlewick Press. Izhar Cohen lives in Israel with his wife and daughter.

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