Betsy Red Hoodie by Gail Carson Levine with illustrations by Scott Nash was released a few weeks ago. A few days ago, a review copy of it appeared on my doorstep, reminding me of that. I really do try to remember all these books! Receiving review copies is really nice, too.
Here's the book description from the publisher:
Betsy is finally old enough to take cupcakes to Grandma all by herself—with the company of her faithful sheep, of course. And although wolves aren’t good for grandmas, Betsy lets her best friend, Zimmo, come along too. But will Zimmo’s wolfish instincts make Grandma the tasty treat instead?
In her second picture book starring the feisty young shepherd Betsy, Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine teams up once again with Scott Nash to put a hilarious twist on an old favorite. This reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood is sure to delight readers from little lambs to cupcake-loving grandmas.
Anyway, this is a "sequel" to Levine's previous book, Betsy Who Cried Wolf. Both books are quite cute. Betsy and Zimmo and all the sheep are back, this time with a take on Little Red Riding Hood, as the description says.
"You have to stay home," Betsy said. "Wolves aren't good for grandmas." Long ago a wolf had eaten a grandma."
That's the tone, right there in those few lines.
I have to admit my favorite characters are the sheep. They get to participate mostly through balloon bubble comments throughout the book. The have more fun and get to deliver the "big eyes" and "big teeth" lines this time. There's plenty of direct nods for the kids to understand and enough subtlety to amuse adults, too, such as sheep "tumbling" after her (Jack and Jill of course) and wool that needs dry cleaning.
Anyway, it's a fun book and great for lapsitting although the nature of the talk bubbles and side comments don't make it an ideal group storytime read--although I don't do many storytimes anymore, I can't help evaluating all books for the needed qualities--it's still a great book to add to any library: home, school or public.
And, please, although I am preaching to the choir, if you have never read Levine's Ella Enchanted, please do. I try to push it at almost every middle reader I meet--at least twice this month and I don't talk books with children in person that often anymore--but that darn movie has ruined it for so many readers. All of these current 8-11 year old girls grew up with the movie on the tv or on DVD and they think it is the book, especially since the current paperback still sports the Anne Hathaway cover. They think they won't like it or that they already know it. It is still one of my favorite Cinderella versions and that is not a light statement from me. I have never been so disappointed as when it didn't win the Newbery. Honor, yes, gold, no. If it had more kids would be reading it for classrooms at least and seeing that Cinderella and assigned reading can both be entertaining...
(stepping off my soapbox now...)