Three little girls spare no mercy to Lon Po Po, the granny wolf, in this version of Little Red Riding Hood
where they tempt her up a tree and over a limb, to her death. The girls' frightened eyes are juxtaposed against Lon Po Po's menacing squint and whirling blue costume in one of the books numerous three-picture sequences, which resemble the decorative panels of Chinese tradition. Through mixing abstract and realistic images with complex use of color and shadow, artist and translator Young has transformed a simple fairy tail into a remarkable work of art and earned the 1990 Caldecott Medal
in doing so.
From Publishers Weekly
This version of the Red Riding Hood story from Young ( The Emperor and the Kite ; Cats Are Cats ; Yeh-Shen ) features three daughters left at home when their mother goes to visit their grandmother. Lon Po Po, the Granny Wolf, pretends to be the girls' grandmother, until clever Shang, the eldest daughter, suspects the greedy wolf's real identity. Tempting him with ginkgo nuts, the girls pull him in a basket to the top of the tree in which they are hiding, then let go of the rope--killing him. One of Young's most arresting illustrations accompanies his dedication: "To all the wolves of the world for lending their good name as a tangible symbol for our darkness." Like ancient Oriental paintings, the illustrations are frequently grouped in panels. When the girls meet the wolf, e.g., the left panel focuses on their wary faces peering out from the darkness, the middle enlarges the evil wolf's eye and teeth, and the third is a vivid swirl of the blue clothes in which the wolf is disguised. The juxtaposition of abstract and realistic representations, the complicated play of color and shadow, and the depth of the artist's vision all help transform this simple fairy tale into an extraordinary and powerful book. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.