Review: Little Red Writing by Joan Holub

little red writing

Little Red Writing by Joan Holub, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

This is a fresh version of Little Red Riding Hood.  Here Little Red is a pencil and her assignment in school is to write a story, even though it can be quite dangerous.  Her teacher gives her a basket of words to use in case of an emergency, but also warns her to stick to her basic story so that she doesn’t get lost.  Little Red starts writing but soon tries to add more excitement to her story.  Before she knows it, she has bounced right off of the page and into a forest.  It’s a forest full of description, but that’s also something that can bog down a story.  Little Red has to use a word from her basket to get free.  More perils follow with sentences that run on, abandoned punctuation, and a growling voice and twirly tail that lead right to the principal’s office.  It is up to Little Red to both be a hero and finish her story.

Holub has written a very engaging new version of Little Red Riding Hood.  She successfully ties in tips on writing, not allowing them to force her to leave the basic story path.  Her writing is entirely engaging, the format of the story writing works well and she weaves the classic elements of the tale into this one so that it is different but still recognizable. 

Sweet’s illustrations are done in her signature combination of cut paper and drawings.  Her bright colors add much to the liveliness of the book.  She uses the cut paper to good effect throughout, allowing them to set aside important parts of the book as well as using fonts of various styles to really make the book stand out. 

A great pick for writing units, this is one of the best changed-up Red Riding Hoods that I’ve seen.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.

Review: Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner

mr wuffles

Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner

The masterful Wiesner returns with another near-wordless picture book.  Mr. Wuffles is a cat who disdains most of the toys his master gets him.  Then one object gets his attention, a little metallic spaceship.  But this is not a toy!  It is filled with tiny aliens who are battered by being flung around by Mr. Wuffles.  Their equipment is damaged and they have to leave their ship and head out looking for help.  But Mr. Wuffles is close behind them and who can the aliens turn to for aid? 

This is a magnificent picture book that turns from a normal cat picture book into something much more interesting.  Wiesner has created a book that bridges genres effortlessly.  He also has created a wordless picture book that never seems to be missing them.  His story flows organically and is never forced.  It has touches of humor throughout especially where Mr. Wuffles himself is concerned.  I particularly enjoy the rows of untouched toys with price tags still attached that he walks past. 

Wiesner’s art is as strong as ever.  He pays attention to details both in the human home and later when the aliens arrive.  The juxtaposition of the aliens with the insects of the home is particularly well done.  The addition of cave paintings as communication is a delight.

Beautiful and funny this is a wordless masterpiece.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.