________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 16. . . .December 19, 2014


Little Bad Riding Hood. (Tadpoles: Fairytale Twists).

Julia Jarman. Illustrated by Jane Cope.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2014.
32 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & html, $8.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-0450-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-0442-3 (RLB.), ISBN 978-1-4271-7562-5 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4271-7554-0 (html).

Grades 1-2 / Ages 6-7.

Review by Carla Epp.

*** /4



“Oh, crumbs!” cried Little Bad Riding Hood after she had eaten all the cakes. “Now what can I give Granny?” She looked around and put stones in her basket instead. “Perhaps Granny won't notice,” she thought and hurried on.


The story of Little Bad Riding Hood, by Julia Jarman, runs in the vein of a fractured fairy tale and asks the question, “What would happen if the snacks in Riding Hood's basket never make it to Granny's house?” This story is part of the “Tadpoles: Fairytale Twists” collection. As in the original story, Little Bad Riding Hood's mother asks her to take a basket of cakes to her Granny through the woods. Along the way, the girl runs into the wolf who suggests that Granny wouldn't miss just one of the delicious looking cakes. Little Bad Riding Hood attempts to be good momentarily and denies him any cakes, but soon after he is scared away by a noise, she eats all the cakes herself, unable to ignore his words. She fills the empty basket with rocks and hurries off to Granny's house where the wolf has, of course, dressed himself up as Granny in an attempt to get the cakes all for himself. Since she had no cakes, Little Bad Riding Hood tries to put off “Granny's” requests for the cakes by asking about “her” appearance. When the wolf eventually gives up the charade, Little Bad Riding Hood is more than happy to share her basket of rocks which break all the wolf's teeth. Granny praises Little Bad Riding Hood's ability to rid them both of the wolf, and Little Bad Riding Hood runs away before Granny can get an answer as to why she was bringing her a basket of rocks instead of cakes.

internal art     This story is a clever rewriting of Little Red Riding Hood. The story makes sense and hangs together well but is written at the level of a beginner reader so that its target audience will likely be able to read or sound out many of the words. The text is simple and accessible for the target age group without compromising the story. The only slightly awkward moment in the story is at the very end when Granny asks Little Bad Riding Hood why she was bringing a basket of rocks and Little Bad Riding Hood runs away. The story ends very abruptly, and Little Bad Riding Hood is not held accountable for her naughty actions.

      The illustrations in this story are colourful and fun (such as an illustration of Little Bad Riding Hood eating the birdseed that she is supposed to be putting in the bird feeder as the birds all watch, shocked and angry). They are drawn in a comic book style that is imprecise and which matches the feel of this fractured fairy tale well.

      There are many value-added features of this book for child and parent/teacher alike. There is encouragement for readers to make up their own twist on the Little Red Riding Hood story. At the back of the book, there are two puzzles for the reader: one is putting the story elements in the right order, and one is matching speech bubbles with the right character. These activities will help readers to understand and cement the story in their minds. There is also a page of adult notes, such as prompts for before, during, and after reading the story to encourage literacy skill building in children. There is also an explanation of the goals of the books in this series and answers to the puzzles for the children.

      Overall, Little Bad Riding Hood is well-written and illustrated. It would be a good purchase for all libraries, particularly those with collections for beginning readers.


Carla Epp is a librarian with the University of Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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