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Look out he's behind you! - I recently took this out of the library as my grandchildren were coming to stay for the day and I thought it would be a good book for me to read to them.
RRP - £5.99
Publisher - Frances Lincoln Books
ISBN - 978-1-84507-734-1
Format - 20page paperback
Ages - 4 -8 years
The front cover of the book features a young girl in a bright red coat and hat holding a basket with a wolf watching from behind a tree. On the back cover the wolf is more prominent and appears to be saying "sssssh!" as the young girl disappears into the distance.
The story is obviously the tale of Red Riding Hood who is on her way to visit her sick grandmother with a basket full of goodies.
The story starts by introducing the different characters in the book , Little Red Riding Hood, her Grandmother, the Woodcutter and of course the Wolf, who is shielded by a door and a flap has to be opened for him to be revealed. As Little Red Riding goes on her journey she is first warned by a rabbit that the wolf is behind her. She can't see him because he is hidden behind the flap representing a gate. Next a hedgehog tries to warn her ,but again, she can't see the wolf hiding behind a flap of leaves as he clingsto a branch. She is then warned by a frog but again the wolf is cunning and is hiding behind a flap of reeds. A horse then tells her but again Little Red Riding Hood doesn't see him hiding behind the flap representing the water trough. An owl warns her in the dark forest and she eventually gets to grandma's house where grandma is tied up, the cat warns her that the wolf is behind the door. She eventually sees the wolf and a fight occurs where the parrot says "Look out Mr Wolf He's behind you!" and when the door flap is opened it is the Wood cutter. They all sit down to tea and cakes as the wolf is locked up in the woodcutter's shed.
This is a delightful way of displaying the story using a cat and mouse effect. The repeated refrain of "Look out he's behind you" encourages my grandchildren to join in the telling of the story. The movable flaps blend into the illustrations and complement the story well and my grandchildren take it in turns to reveal the wolf. They find the illustration of the wolf hanging from a branch of the tree and wearing a snorkel in the water trough particularly amusing and turn these flaps time and time again. Ben who is almost two turns the pages to find the one with the horse as soon as he gets the book and loves repeating the words "He's behind you" whether he has the book or not.
The recommended age is 4 - 8 years but I think on a one to one basis it is an enjoyable book that can be read to younger children
The illustrations are bright and detailed enough to tell the story on there own without the text. It is charming that Little Red Riding Hood can't see the wolf but the reader can by lifting the flaps. It is this style and format that makes the book so appealing to young children especially my grandchildren. As with all lift and flap books they help develop hand and eye coordination and well as offering interactive enjoyment. Emma who is 3 years likes the idea that she can see the wolf by lifting the flaps I think this is because it offers interaction with the story. The illustrations are also full of detail with lots of plants, animals and insects to talk about and offer familiarity.
The text of the story is written at the bottom of each page there by giving the majority of the pages to the beautiful illustrations. The writing is fairly basic but offers good descriptive positioning words like "down the road and round the corner, etc;" . I think older children would find this version probably too easy however, there is a good use of speech bubbles which will encourage young children to enhance there own writing and of course it could be used to enforce the dangers of going off on their own.
As the grandchildren really enjoyed this book inspite of their ages of 2 and 3 years I am going to buy my own copy from one of the online sites.
This review also appears on ciao.
- Introduction -
This book is a simple re-telling of the traditional tale of Little Red Riding Hood.
- The book -
The story begins on the front cover, where RRH informs the reader that she is going to see her grandmother and invites us to come along on her trip.
The first page introduces the characters: RRH, grandmother, the woodcutter and the big bad wolf who is hiding behind a door that has a flap to open up.
The story follows RRH's trip to visit her grandmother. On each page, different animals are warning her by saying:
"Look out, he's behind you!"
But RRH just can't see him as he is hiding so cunningly, e.g. up in the apple tree, behind the reeds near the river, in the water trough for the horses . However the reader can see him by lifting the flaps. All the while she just says "Where?"
At last she goes in to her grandma's cottage, with grandma tied up and the wolf coming through the door to get her. A fight ensues until the woodcutter comes along to save the day!
- Price -
The paperback version that I bought, ISBN: 0-7497-0024-6 was £3.99 way back in the early 90s! However on Amazon they are available from just 1p a bargain even if you take in to account P&P charges.
- Style, Format & Illustrations -
It is the style and format of the book that makes it so interesting for very young children. They like the idea that they can see the wolf by lifting the flaps but RRH can't see him and they often shout out to let her know where he is hiding!
The pictures are very busy with lots of flowers, plants, insects and animals along the country paths that she is walking along. The illustrator has managed to capture the eerie mood of the deep dark wood, without making it too scary which is good as it is pitched at just the right level for the 2+ audience.
The suggested reading level for this book is 4 - 8 but I have read this to younger and feel that it is a little too simple for the 5 to 6 + range
There is humour in some of the illustrations, e.g. when the wolf is hiding in the water trough, he is shown using a snorkel so that he can breathe under the water.
The main narrative section of the text is along the bottom of each page and is quite simple and basic, although there are a lot of speech bubbles that extend the story.
Children love joining in with the "Look out, he's behind you!"
- Educational Values -
~ As with all lift-the-flap books, it is a great way of developing hand-eye co-ordination as well as fine motor skills.
~ The positional language incorporated in the text is great: down the road, round the corner, over the bridge, across the village green.
~ The chant of "Look out, he's behind you!" encourages active participation and simple memory skills.
~ As with the original version of the story we have discussed the dangers of setting off on a short trip without a familiar adult.
- The author -
Tony Bradman went to Cambridge University, became a journalist and worked in pop music press.
He then went on to work in a range of ways to promote children's books, for example, he was the leading force in the 'Best Books for Babies Campaign' and has reviewed a number of children's books.
His first book was published in 1984 and in 1987 he became a full time author of books for children and adults.
Tony Bradman is probably best known for his Dilly the Dinosaur stories but here are some of his other publications:
~ Peek-a-boo Moon
~ Good night kind of feeling
~ Not like this, like that
- Final Thoughts -
This has been a favourite with the young children I have read this to over the years. However it's best on a 1:1 or very small group basis so that they can have a go at lifting the flaps.
Through the years, there have only been a handful of children who have been scared of the wolf in the story. Most aren't as he's portrayed in a slightly humorous way and isn't too scary or ugly!
A lovely lift-the-flap book which presents the traditional tale in a more up-beat way.