Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Book: Little Red Riding Hood by Gennady Spirin

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood by Gennady Spirin is Spirin's latest fairy tale offering appearing in bookstores now.  There are more images from the book on Amazon in the Click to See More feature, but I didn't find others very readily in a cursory internet search.

Publisher's description:

Gennady Spirin, in his adaptation of the Brother Grimms’ earliest version of "Little Red Cap", tells the story of a young girl in a red hood who takes a cake to her sick grandmother. Along the way, she meets a wicked wolf who tricks her into thinking he’s her granny. Sumptuous illustrations, inspired by the golden age of Dutch painting in the 17th century and Renaissance, capture the charm and spirit of a tale that has remained steadfast in oral and written versions throughout the centuries. An Author’s note about the tale’s history is included.

And here's the author's note from the book since I so very much appreciate publishers who include these, especially if they answer questions I would eventually receive about the book in an email from a reader...

The tale, “Little Red Riding Hood,” has appeared in many versions throughout history. As far back as the fourteenth century, a French oral variant depicted the wolf as a werewolf and Little Red Riding Hood as a smart little girl who escapes the wolf’s advances by using her wits. In 1697, the French writer Charles Perrault published a version, “Le Petit Chaperon Rouge,” in Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralites (Stories or Tales of Past Times with Morals), in which he introduced the red hood and described Little Red Riding Hood as an “attractive, well-bred young lady” who later gets eaten by the wolf.

My retelling is based on the Brothers Grimm’s earliest version, Rothkappchen, published in 1812 in Kinder-und Hausmarchen (Children’s and Household Tales), but, as in the Russian story that I heard as a child, I included two hunters instead of one. I omitted also the scene in which Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother place stones in the wolf’s stomach before he dies.

I enjoyed illustrating and retelling the version you find here, as “Little Red Riding Hood” has always been one of my favorite tales.

--Gennady Spirin
You can also read more about Spirin here and here.

And I wonder just how many Little Red Riding Hood books have been printed over the years. The first line in this picture book version is:

Once upon a time there was a little girl who was loved by everyone.

Ain't that the truth? Perfect first line for this fairy tale!

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