Just knowing that this version of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD was created by Jerry Pinkney should tip readers off to its quality. His artwork alone brings an amazing depth to this classic tale, which in his telling goes beyond the expected. He brings a multicultural sensitivity to a story that has long been part of a European tradition. And his language is poetic and captivating.
With pencil, watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, Pinkney has filled each page with a scene that is expressive, delicate, strong, colorful, realistic, and imaginative all at the same time. The soft features of Little Red, her mother, and grandmother glow with sincerity. The woods silently filled with snow-covered birch and fir as well as creatures that seem ever-watchful help build a definite tension. The very realistic wolf almost seems to smile, though something in his face subtly says he is up to no good. And this is just the artwork: The language itself takes the traditional and makes it more. Poetic and pleasant, nothing is dumbed down here as modern retellings sometimes are. All senses are stimulated. Readers can smell the chicken soup simmering in the cozy kitchen, taste the snowflakes, hear the crunching of the snow and the chopping of the woodsman and feel the peaceful crisp cold of the forest. Of course, they have an amazing number of things to look at. If you want to own one version of Little Red Riding Hood other than the original, this is definitely the one to have.