Little Red Rhyming Hood

Albert Whitman. Oct. 2019. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807545973.
PreS-Gr 1–In this spin-off of the original “Red Riding Hood” tale, Big Brad Wolf bullies a young girl who speaks only in rhyme until the two find a way to merge their talents. Shunned because of her rhyming and teased constantly by Brad, the girl complains to her grandmother, who tries to “cheer her up” by making her a red, hooded sweatshirt. The youngster wears it constantly and becomes known as “Little Red Rhyming Hood.” When a poetry contest is announced, Little Red plans to enter and meet other poetry lovers. She is so absorbed while practicing that she doesn’t hear Brad sneak up on her, causing her papers to scatter and her rhyming ability to leave her and transfer to him. The solution: they work together, win the contest, and become friends. The brightly colored cartoon illustrations depict a cast of apple-cheeked, multiracial children. Little Red, who carries poetry books with her everywhere, and her grandmother, are dark-skinned and have long hair tied in segments reaching below their waists. Grandma has an old-fashioned Victrola, and shelves of books appear everywhere in her home. While the hug Brad gives Little Red, a device used to reverse their speaking patterns, may give adults pause, this additional purchase is useful for discussions of bullying as well as for sparking an appreciation of poetry.
VERDICT Another fun title from the creative team behind Mary Had a Little Lab.

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