Thursday, January 14, 2021

Review - Little Red Hoodie

Little Red Hoodie

by Martha Freeman
illustrated by Marta Sevilla
Date: 2020
Publisher: Holiday House
Reading level: C
Book type: illustrated chapter book
Pages: 160
Format: e-book
Source: library

It's not the big bad wolf that stops Little Red Hoodie from getting to grandma's house in this rollicking take on the fairy tale--Red can't follow directions!

"Follow Magic Wand Lane to Glass Slipper Boulevard, right on Beanstalk, left on Breadcrumb, down the Garden Path, and you're there," said Little Red Hoodie's mom, but Red wasn't exactly paying attention.

Before she knows it, she's hopelessly lost in the forest-- and to make matters worse, someone has stolen her basket of goodies. It'll take the whole forest to undercover the thief and get the directionally challenged Little Red Hoodie back on track to Grandma's house.

A companion to the delightfully irreverent Goldilocks, Go Home!, this latest from Martha Freeman features all the wit and charm of the first book as well as cameos by Bobby (Baby) Bear, the Pig Brothers from HoGTV, Chicken Little, and many more. Marta Sevilla's clever drawings effortlessly capture the spirited banter among characters as Little Red Hoodie and Bobby Bear take turns narrating the story.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I didn't realize this was a chapter book when I picked it up. (I thought it was a picture book.) But it seemed fairly short, so I thought I'd give it a try. I wish I hadn't.

This was pretty much a waste of time for me. It's apparently the second book in a series, and though I don't think you really need to have read the first book to understand the story in this one, the series format means the ending leaves much to be desired. The book just ends! I suspect the next one will incorporate "Hansel and Gretel"... but I really don't care.

The main problem I have with this is that it's a confusing read. The story is narrated by Little Red Hoodie and Bobby Bear, with chapters alternating between them. You can tell who's narrating because their picture is at the beginning of each chapter. However, the other character is then pictured throughout those chapters making little comments, which gets a little confusing. Even more confusing is the fact that the person telling the story sometimes refers to themselves in the third person! So if you happen to pick the book back up in the middle of a chapter, you might have a hard time remembering who was narrating. (Don't even get me started on Chapter Seven. The picture indicates that Little Red Hoodie should be narrating, but the entire chapter is in the third-person point of view.)

The writing had some technical issues, and there was a rather large continuity error near the end involving the castle drawbridge and batteries (don't ask), so I wasn't impressed overall. The illustrations were also kind of lacklustre; they almost seemed like a set of clip art that someone had placed into the story.

I wouldn't recommend this one, even to kids who like fairy tales. (And it's definitely a book to stay away from if you don't like spiders. Little Red Hoodie is obsessed with them, and near the end things get all creepy and crawly.)

For fairy-tale retellings that are done much better than this, I'd recommend books like Rebecca J. Gomez's Federico and the Wolf, Christy Webster's Cinderella Rex, or Willy Claflin's Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs instead.

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Pace: 2/5
Writing & Editing: 2/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2 out of 5

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