Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Review - Little Red and the Crocodile

Little Red and the Crocodile (Fractured Fairytale #1)
by Suzan Johnson
illustrated by Ayessa C.
Date: 2019
Publisher: True Beginnings Publishing
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 30
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Meet Zara! She’s a smart, friendly, and curious girl who loves to visit her Auntie. This is a FRACTURED version of a famous tale. This retelling of Little Red Riding Hood takes the reader to the Louisiana swamps where we meet a new character in Cory the Crocodile. Will Little Red follow her mother’s rules? Will Cory the Croc succeed? Find out what happens when they meet on a journey.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This isn't really what I was expecting. This is a retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" set in Louisiana with a crocodile instead of a wolf. It leaves out the characteristic aspects of the story ("What big teeth you have, Grandmother!") and instead relies on people's familiarity with the original tale to get the somewhat preachy point across. (The message is literally spelled out in the last paragraph. Subtle, it isn't.)

I have a few problems with this. First, there's the writing. It's confusing in places, with dangling participles and unclear pronoun use. Also, there's way too much of it. At times, this is almost like a novel. Pages of text alternate with illustrations, and some of those text pages are full pages. (Others are not, which makes the book seem somewhat uneven.) Second, and perhaps more importantly, there are no crocodiles in Louisiana. Oops!

I was hoping for some twists. After all, this is billed as a "fractured fairytale". I expected a little more than the story simply changing the grandmother to an aunt, the wolf to a crocodile, and the woodcutter/hunter to a park ranger. Everything else is pretty much the same. The Louisiana setting could have been interesting, but it was underused (especially in the illustrations); the potential for a real sense of place wasn't realized. And, you know... there are no crocodiles in Louisiana. (This character could've been changed to an alligator easily and it would've made more sense. He just would've had to have been named something other than Cory to keep up with alliteration.)

Overall, this was a disappointment. I like seeing new twists on fairy tales... but they have to be done well. Changing up the characters a little bit wasn't enough to make me love this.

Thank you to NetGalley and True Beginnings Publishing for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 1/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 1/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 1.33 out of 5

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