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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Don't dilly dally. Go directly to Granny's."
Little Red Riding Hood is reincarnated in this imaginative retelling of a favorite tale, Carmine taught to read by a beloved granny who uses alphabet soup to instruct the child. She started with a spoonful of letters and now Carmine can read a whole bowl. Whenever Granny makes a fresh pot of soup, like today, Carmine is invited for lunch. Before she leaves, Carmine sorts...
Published on October 8, 2005 by Luan Gaines

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Messy presentation
The front cover looks good, so I expected the book's illustration to be the same. However, I was disappointed to find the interior illustration messy both in terms of color and drawing. I believe clarity is important for a child's ability to comprehend visually.
Published 7 months ago by Rothko


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Don't dilly dally. Go directly to Granny's.", October 8, 2005
Little Red Riding Hood is reincarnated in this imaginative retelling of a favorite tale, Carmine taught to read by a beloved granny who uses alphabet soup to instruct the child. She started with a spoonful of letters and now Carmine can read a whole bowl. Whenever Granny makes a fresh pot of soup, like today, Carmine is invited for lunch. Before she leaves, Carmine sorts through her clutter for anything she might need on her journey, pencils, paper and paint. Accompanied by her beloved dog, Rufus, Carmine has been known to dilly dally on the way to Granny's house, although she has been warned by her mother that the route is fraught with danger. This time a lurking wolf spots the child, who has stopped to paint a picture for her grandmother, distracted by nature's abundant beauty. Racing ahead... well, you know this story. Luckily for Carmine, her Granny doesn't meet the same fate as the original grandmother, this one hiding in the closet as the hungry wolf gathers an armful of soup bones to take home to his pups. Happily reunited, Carmine, Granny and Rufus sip their soup while admiring Carmine's latest work of art.

The artwork in this book is vivid and imaginative, combined with a layout that introduces new vocabulary words used in context with the illustrations. This artist thinks outside the box, using both visual images and language to inspire young readers, cartoon balloons filled with Carmine and the Wolf's dialog as they confront their situations. Words like pluck, dawdle, mimic and nincompoop add alliterative rhythms, balanced with lively drawings, a bright palette accented with every shade of red: scarlet, carmine and fuscia. A multi-level reading experience, Carmine is a fabulous addition to a child's library, a visual and verbal feast as exuberant as its young heroine. Luan Gaines/ 2005.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent children's book!, January 5, 2007
I thoroughly enjoyed reading "Carmine:A Little More Red"; it is a creative interpretation of a classic. The illustrations are beautiful!! While the vocabulary was too advanced for my 3- and 4-year old children to grasp, the pictures held their attention and I am sure that it will be a treasured book for years to come.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 99 red balloons floating in a summer sky, February 28, 2006
Little Red Riding Hood. There is probably more psychological baggage and scintillating undertones associated with this little tale than any other story in the Grimm repertoire. Accordingly, with every year more and more alternate versions and retellings hit the market full force. From James Marshall's classic version to Ed Young's stylized Chinese retelling ("Lon Po Po", in case you're interested), there are more little girls in red hoods out there than you can shake a fist at. "Carmine" is one of the most recent additions to the fold, and it makes for a lovely little read. Bringing together such disparate elements as the alphabet, gradations in color, a heightened sense of tension, and even a recipe at its conclusion, "Carmine" is not the most accessible of Little Red tales out there, but it's certainly one of the most pleasant to thumb through. You're not going to get the straight dope on Little Red with this version, but for the modern kid Sweet's interpretation of the events involving one girl in a hood, one granny, and one wolf makes for a perfectly nice and perfectly new story of its own.

Each plot twist in this book begins with a letter of the alphabet. So the first step in the story comes with the word "Alphabet". Carmine loved going over to her granny's for a little alphabet soup. "Beware". There was a wolf about and Carmine was warned to go straight to granny's and not to dilly-dally. Unfortunately, Carmine is a world class dilly-dallier. There are few dallys she hasn't dillied (or, alternately, dillies she hasn't dallied). Since Carmine is a fan of painting she spots some poppies on her route and decides that granny deserves a picture of them. "It may seem farfetched to think that any painting can be improved by adding a little more red, but Carmine believes it to be true". Unfortunately, the wolf is most certainly about. After a quick conversation with Carmine's terror stricken dog, it heads straight for granny's and catches her unawares. Fortunately for everyone involved, the soup bones by granny's pot strike the carnivore as more enticing than her old creaky ones. Carmine learns her lesson, granny loves her painting, and a fine bowls of alphabet soup are had by all.

The essential conceit of beginning each new thought with a letter of the alphabet is all well and good but there isn't much rhyme or reason to Sweet's choices. All the same, I was a little amazed at how effectively the author cranks up the suspense when the wolf has visited granny and her cry for help has been foreshortened. Adults familiar with the original granny-in-the-belly-of-the-beast versions of this tale will be as relieved as their offspring to learn of her safety. The story itself does, I should add, make the reader think for a moment that the wolf has returned home to its young with its arms full of granny's bones. But however bleak that image, it is quickly remedied by a simple extraction of the old lady from her own closet.

Prior to reading "Carmine", my only other association with Melissa Sweet came with her lovely illustration work done on Catherine Thimmesh's fabulous, "The Sky's the Limit". In that book Sweet conjured up a very satisfying selection of mixed media. "Carmine", similarly, draws upon a variety of different elements. Open the book up and immediately the first thing you see is a collection of color swatches. Each shade of red is spelled out with alphabet soup letters and they have everything from Sienna and Vermillion to Crimson and Magenta. The rest of the book is a combination of cartoon and illustration. Sweet makes continual oblique references to fairy tales and nursery rhymes throughout the story too. For example, the wolf creeps by Little Boy Blue asleep on a haystack and The Three Little Pigs make a brief appearance in a small cartoon panel. What could have come across as haphazard or messy in the hands of another artist merely takes on a rather vibrant and exciting feel under Sweet's direction.

The version of this story that "Carmine" seems the closest to (at least in spirit) would probably be Lisa Campbell Ernst's, "Little Red Riding Hood: A Newfangled Prairie Tale". Both books feature the heroine on a bike on the cover. Both are updated retellings and both end happily for the wolves involved. Both even have recipes for the foods mentioned (muffins in Ernst's, alphabet soup in Sweet's). But while "Carmine" is a far more stylized retelling with a very real sense of tension to it, Ernst's tale makes for a much better readaloud, especially when you take into consideration its homey southern drawl. All the same, "Carmine: A Little More Red" is a lovely modern take on a old story and one that I'm sure many a child (particularly those enamored of the many shades of rouge) will find themselves enjoying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A RATHER UNIQUE WORK AND ONE OF MY FAVORITES. Kids love this thing., December 4, 2011
This review is from: Carmine: A Little More Red (Paperback)
I have always been rather fond of alphabet books, the story of Little Red Ridding Hood, paint and art and a well told story - in general. Fortunately, so do most children. And with all of those likes, Melissa Sweet have created her own quirky telling of this old tale to delight us all. Plus, we have the added bonus of a nice little color/art lesson coupled with a subtle sense of humor to amuse the adult reader.

But don't think that this is an ordinary alphabet book filled with little starter words. No, the author has used this little book as a vehicle to introduce children to scads of new and delightful words that they more than likely have heard, but have no clue as to the meaning.

Exquisite
Clutter
Surreal
Yodel
Omen

Well, you get the picture.

Sweet has used the old, old Brothers Grimm tale in a new setting Here, Little Red, name Carmine, gets word that granny has made a new batch of alphabet soup (Granny taught Carmine to read using this soup), and wants her to join her. Now Carmine is a little artist so she packs up her art supplies, ergo we are introduced to the word "clutter," grabs her dog, hops on her bike and sets off to grand mother's house. She is told not to "dilly-dally," due to a wolf being seen, but she is captivated by the "exquisite lighting and landscape on the way and of course is diverted.

Whole this story bares little resemblance to the original tale, it never the less sort of follows the plot line. The reader will find themselves liking Carmine, Granny, the dog and yes, even the wolf in this one. The word play, little side notes, small conversations and observations will bring a smile or snicker to your face.

I quite like the art work in this one...large bold and strangely appealing characters and background, painted in sort of washed out colors fit the story perfectly.

Scarlet, crimson, magenta, vermillion, carmine, red, ruby, fuchsia and on and one; the little ones get a great lesson in color diffusion and gradients here...there is not much to not like about this book.

All in all this is a good read and an opportunity to push a bit further into word meanings for children. The entire book; both art and text, are skillfully done and it is a pleasure to read this one to the wee ones.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cute Book, June 8, 2013
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This review is from: Carmine: A Little More Red (Paperback)
I like this book but and so does my niece! Great drawings, keeps kids engaged. I like her other book also--Tupelo.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Need to read it.., January 2, 2013
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This review is from: Carmine: A Little More Red (Paperback)
I buy childrens picture books as a hobby and I love the art work in this book. I have been to busy to sit down and really enjoy it, though.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Adorable book!, November 12, 2010
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This review is from: Carmine: A Little More Red (Paperback)
I am using this book as part of my lesson for "retelling" a story. My children are loving thinking of words for each letter of the alphabet that describes and helps retell the story that we are working on. It's truly adorable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic alphabet book, September 12, 2009
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Ellie (Tempe, AZ, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Carmine: A Little More Red (Paperback)
This is a wonderful book to share with young readers. The art work and language create an entertaining new look at the Little Red Riding Hood story. Incidentally the red dye for such a hood comes from the prickly pear plant. There is a lot of science and history available about red dye and how it was developed. One can expand the story if one wants to have a total unit incorporating science, history and language arts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Clever retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, January 7, 2009
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This review is from: Carmine: A Little More Red (Paperback)
This is a great story with lots of visual interest and vocabulary lessons snuck in. The story will be vaguely familiar, but this version is much more captivating for kids and adults. But buy the hardcover!
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5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT RETELLING, April 12, 2007
Fun having the same story brought up to date and a terrific way to show how things change.
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Carmine: A Little More Red
Carmine: A Little More Red by Melissa Sweet (Paperback - May 5, 2008)
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