Mighty Red Riding Hood: A Fairly Queer Tale

Little, Brown. May 2022. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316628358.
K-Gr 3–With all the amiability of Todd Parr, the loose cartoon drawing style of the fractured fairy tales from Saturday morning’s Bullwinkle & Rocky, and the wide-open welcome of Jonathan Van Ness, this story turns Red Riding Hood inside out and reveals a Southern-fried story of keeping things friendly no matter our differences. Little Red’s Moo Moo (grandmother) gives him a cloak that makes him feel mighty and when his errand is to take his own mother’s failed baking attempts out of the house to Moo Moo’s, he’s ready. A mean old wolf keeps trying to throw Little Red off his grand mood by challenging his choice of outfit, stating that the red cloak is more for girls than boys. But Little Red, in the most charming vernacular this side of Kansas (“‘I’m mighty when I wear this,’ Little Red said to the whole wide woods. ‘I’m not trading it for some plain old socks to satisfy a grumbly grump telling boys what they should and shouldn’t wear’”), deflects all instructions and insults, befriending the wolf and inviting him over to Moo Moo’s. The language will have children laughing, the lesson is sensible not syrupy, and the ending a pure surprise.
VERDICT A classic in the making, for all fairy-tale shelves, and sure to be a read-aloud favorite.

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