Thursday, May 6, 2010

Little Red Riding Hood/Trina Schart Hyman/Fairy Tale Fridays

Tif Talks Books hosts Fairy Tale Fridays and as I've been spending my Springtime immersed in fairy tale discussions with 2nd grade students I love to play along.

This week I believe she is discussing The Three Bears, which I did read with students.  They thought Goldilocks was pretty rude for breaking and entering and then breaking more things.  They said she should have apologized!! 

I'm going to focus on a different fairy tale though as it is one very dear to my heart.  A few months after moving from one state to another it was my daughter's birthday and an amazing friend sent her a handmade red cape and a copy of Trina Schart Hyman's Little Red Riding Hood.  If my scanner worked I would show you the very first illustration which has Red Riding Hood sitting on a bench, reading a book.  It starts in the familiar way transporting us immedietely "Once upon a time there was a little girl named Elisabeth who lived with her mother in a house on the edge of the village."  Red Riding Hood is being raised by her single this why the wolf picks her?   These were, after all, early tales of morality. 

     I love the illustrations in the book and the story is very well-told but I always question this tale (and other fairy tales as well) because it can be so gory with the whole gutting of the wolf at the hands of the male woodcutter, which then leads to Red and Grandmother being "reborn."  Fairly dramatic, yes. This version does all that but somehow Hyman's whimsical illustrations make the grimness  fade and in the end Grandmother and Red sit down and have some afternoon refreshments after the woodcutter rescues them. (Note: In the earliest versions of Little Red the girl is able to outwit the wolf herself but later centuries believed it was important to have a male figure come and rescue the helpless little girl.)

     Red Riding Hood reminds herself, as she is walking back home, "I will never wander off the forest path again, as long as I live.  I should have kept my promise to my mother."  She is comforted by the fact that she has "minded her manners, and had always said 'good morning,' 'please,' and 'thank you."   So she could have been killed by the predator wolf but thank heavens she was always polite!!  See why I love this retelling-it has such spunk and I truly love this illustrator.  She has illustrated other fairy tales but this is her only retelling. 
My Little Red Riding Hood girl with the handmade cape from Verda!

Click here for her long  bibliography.


Tif Sweeney said...

LOL!!! Goldilocks does need to apologize!! :)

I've really got to find myself a copy of this version of Little Red Riding Hood. You have mentioned it to me before, but I have yet to find it! I'm going to check my library this weekend!!

Jenners said...

Goldilocks is RUDE!!! My Little One was horrifed at this story. "You mean she touched all their stuff???!!!"

And I love hearing how Little Red Riding Hood changed over the years. Before having kids, I would have railed against the "listen to your mother" moral ... now I love it. But we don't need a man to save us!

Anonymous said...

hey, do you remember if any of this version has any illustrations of the wolf eating humans or pictured with a fat stomach?