Book Review: Little Red Riding Hood (Not Quite), by Yvonne Morrison, illustrated by Donovan Bixley

Available in bookstores nationwide.
I will admit to being a little dubious about sequels to popular books (or movies), but this book runs the risk and comes out alongside The Three Bears (Sort Of) in pure brilliance. Both books feature a true and ingenious interaction between illustration and text, thanks to the talents of Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley.

Vote for this book for Children’s Choice here (you must be 18 or under).

I have extolled the virtues of Donovan Bixley previously, and the joyful feel of this book leads me to do so again. He is fine illustrator working at the top of his field in this style of illustration. Cheeky people and animals absolutely bursting with character set this story up beautifully, while his” child’s drawings”, encyclopaedia entries, wolf forms and even the map to grandma’s house show his breadth as an illustrator.

As with The Three Bears (Sort Of), this is the story of an adult telling a traditional fairy tale to their endlessly questioning child. This is the type of child who will not go straight to sleep after a story because they are still trying to place everything in their mind and make sense of it all. The fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood is tested to its limits of veracity, and many of the points this child picks up on are ones I used to wonder about myself as a kid, before putting them down to the need to tell a good story!

I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to read this aloud alongside me, as my ‘questioning child’ voice sounds a little too much like my ‘I have just got home from work why hasn’t a wine materialised yet’ voice! I was particularly pleased to see at the end, the child ensuring the wolf is safely rehabilitated in a ‘sanctuary for wolves where he made a lot of friends and lived happily ever after.’ Poor old wolves, they do get a bad rap in fairy tales. My 4-year-old also loved this ending.

My pick for the next book? Please, Yvonne and Donovan, do Jack and the Beanstalk – there are so many elements of that story that deserve a good questioning.

A highly recommended take on the traditional fairy tale, for ages 4+.

Reviewed by Sarah Forster

Little Red Riding Hood (Not Quite)
by Yvonne Morrison, illustrated by Donovan Bixley
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775432630