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Everyone knows that wolves are big and bad and should never be trusted anywhere near one's granny. Is that always the case though and is there just a chance that some wolves have been given a bad image that they don't deserve? In this charming tale, you will meet a sweet little wolf who might just prompt you to think differently about the entire species.
'Once upon a time there was a Big Bad Wolf who lived in the woods. Well. That's not quite true... Really, she was a Sweet Little Wolf who loved all things pretty and pink, especially fairy tales.'
From the very start of this wonderful book the reader discovers that not all wolves are big and bad and is introduced to the sweetest, mildest wolf that ever lived. The only problem is that her parents are big and bad and they want her to be exactly like them. This is why they send her out with a shopping list for dinner which along with the onions, potatoes and carrots includes 'one little girl (tender and juicy)'
Before long the little wolf comes across Red Riding Hood walking through the woods to her grandmother's house and she follows her. However, rather than thinking about eating her she becomes entranced by the fairy tales that Red Riding Hood is reading aloud as she walks along. Unseen, the little wolf follows her into Grandma's house and when she spots a lovely pink negligee, she can't resist trying it on. When she hears Red Riding Hood coming into the room though, the only place to hide is Grandma's bed and of course that is the real reason why everyone believes that she was impersonating Grandma with the intention of eating the little girl. Will she ever be able to persuade the woodcutter, dashing to the rescue, that she means no harm and what will her parents make of this despicable unwolflike behaviour? You'll have to share this wonderfully entertaining book with your small children in order to find out.
As much as my daughters love traditional fairy tales, they seem to like these alternative versions even more. They love the way, in this book, that the story is turned around and the fact that the wolf is really a meek and loveable character rather than the horrible monster that she is often portrayed as. They also really appreciate the humour that comes with this type of retelling.
The book is well written and we all enjoyed the relaxed chatty style. The pages are brightly coloured with not too much text overlaying some wonderful illustrations. Some of the words are big and bold for emphasis, there is a shopping list and a letter, and every time that Red Riding Hood reads from her book the words are in italics. When I read the book with my six year old daughter, she really noticed the different types of print and, while she wanted me to read most of the book, she insisted on reading all the parts that were different. This was a lovely way to share the reading with my increasingly confident daughter.
Overall, this is a wonderful story which cleverly retells one of our favourite stories in a most unexpected way. The humour and the comical illustrations really add to the enjoyment, and I am sure it is a book that will be read over and over again.
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk