Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Cloaked in Red
Vande Velde, Vivian. 2010. CLOAKED IN RED. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish. ISBN 9780761457930 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-12]
Vivian Vande Velde wonders why stories about Little Red Riding Hood are so popular with children. She claims the classic fairy tale is lacking in the accepted elements of good storytelling including character development, detailed setting, interesting plot, and relevant theme. The author feels “‘Little Red Riding Hood’ is a strange and disturbing story that should probably not be shared with children. And then adds, “That is why I’ve gone ahead and written eight new versions of it.”
Vande Velde’s eight variations attempt to address problems in the original story such as Little Red’s inability to recognize a wolf pretending to be her grandmother, why her parents allow her to travel through wolf-infested woods alone, and how a mysterious character happens to come along just in time to rescue the little girl and her grandmother. Each retelling presents a different plot and theme complete with more developed characters that renders the tale more plausible than the original. Stories range from a shy teen embarrassed to be seen in public to an animated doll with stuffing for brains to explaining how Little Red ends up in such a precarious situation. Fans of fractured fairy tales will enjoy this humorous collection.
Readers will enjoy rewriting their favorite fairy tales to include more detailed story elements. Using CLOAKED IN RED as an example, children and teens may choose another tale to extend.
Other fairy tale retellings by Vivian Vande Velde:
THE RUMPELSTILTSKIN PROBLEM. ISBN 9780618055234
TALES FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM AND THE SISTERS WEIRD. ISBN 9780152055721
By Kimberly C. Kinnaird