Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Book Review, ahoy!

Cloaked in Red, by Vivian Vande Velde--From the introduction, "Everyone knows the story of Little Red Riding Hood, the girl with the unfortunate name and the inability to tell the difference between her grandmother and a member of a different species." And, "However you look at it, 'Little Red Riding Hood' is a strange and disturbing story that should probably not be shared with children. That is why I've gone ahead and written eight new versions of it."

Ms. Vande Velde's eight new versions of LRRH are smart, funny, and ultimately satisfying. Unlike the original, which has plot holes big enough to accommodate a Mack truck, her short stories are tightly plotted and the characters are vivid and grand.

Since the stories are so short ( the entire book is only 127 small pages) there is only so much I can say about them. "The Red Cloak" is courtesy of an interfering mother who doesn't pay attention; "The Red Riding Hood Doll" gives a woman a bit of happiness in her otherwise drab life; "Little Red Riding Hood's Family" has one of the best openings... "Once upon a time, long after people had found out that their families could sometimes be an embarrassment, but before there were advice columnists you could complain to, there was a girl named Roselle."; "Granny and the Wolf" tells of a young granny who has to deal with a different kind of wolf; "Deems the Wood Gatherer" is an unfortunately near-sighted man with an unfortunate penchant for doing good deeds; the title characters in "Why Willy and His Brother Won't Ever Amount to Anything" are either dim-witted or overly-imaginative; "The Little Red Headache" is told from the wolf's point of view; and "Little Red Riding Hood's Little Red Riding Hood" is one of the most intelligent articles of clothing you will ever meet.

This little book doesn't take long to read, but it is well worth every minute!

No comments: