Red and the City
Oxford Children’s Books
If you thought you knew the story Little Red Riding Hood, then think again. I certainly thought I was pretty familiar with a considerable number of versions both traditional and the ‘fractured’ variety, (especially as this blog is a variation on the name), but Marie Voight’s is something altogether different.
Red has now become sufficiently trustworthy and grown up to visit her Grandma on her own.Taking a cake as a present for her gran and Woody the dog as company, she begins by following her mum’s instructions to “Follow the heart flowers”, cross the road carefully, stay on the path, and not speak to anyone.
Hunger pangs however strike and Red decides to have just a small piece of the cake; but it’s an especially tasty one and pretty soon, the child has devoured the whole thing.
She decides to buy her Grandma some flowers as a gift instead. This means just a small, brief diversion from the path or so she tells Woody.
Soon though, Red has completely forgotten about her mission and instead wanders here and there making a purchase but not of flowers;
and before long she is utterly lost and in the grip of the consumerist urban wolf.
Indeed, she’s swallowed up.
Suddenly a bark wakens her and remembering what really matters, Red finds her own way back onto the path and eventually reaches her Grandma’s home, albeit rather late in the day.
All ends happily with talk and cake – one Grandma has specially baked for the occasion earlier – and a bedtime story … I wonder what that might have been.
This contemporary telling of the traditional tale is, can you believe, Marie Voigt’s picture book debut and what a delicious one it is.
From start to finish, children will simply adore discovering the wolvish elements in her scenes as they relish Marie’s telling, whether or not they fully appreciate the issues of consumerism and self-determination that older readers might.
The limited colour palette is perfect for the story and the special loving bond between Grandma and Red shines through in the final spreads.