A picture book a week: Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion
Alex T Smith takes the fractured fairy tale genre to a whole new level of ingenuity with this brilliantly executed version of Little Red Riding Hood. When Little Red sets off to visit her poorly auntie Rosie, she meets many friendly animals, until the Lion appears on her path. He has rather unpleasant plans for our Little Red; however he has not foreseen that she might just outsmart him, with hilarious consequences.
This alternative version of the well-known tale is delivered with the wit, humour and little dose of zaniness that we have come to love and admire from Alex T Smith’s work. Fans will certainly not be disappointed and as ever, there is plenty for both child listener and adult reader to chuckle to. He is a master at comedy-timing, and knows exactly how to strike the right balance between what the text tells the audience and what the artwork reveals. In this instance, the artwork and specifically the effect created by the use of warm colours in the artwork is quite stunning. Those colours bring the African countryside and culture to life, with the heat of the sun soaking the Savannah radiating off the page. In times when diverse books are so few and far between, this is a little gem: bringing a traditional tale rooted in White-dominated heritage and give it a whole new multicultural setting. And when the story’s protagonist is a feisty bright but kind role model like Little Red, the more children can relate to her, the better. More, please!
Review copy from publisher