Very Little Red Riding Hood by Teresa Heapy

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What Great Personality You Have!

Very Little Red Riding Hood, the first in a series of three picture books by Teresa Heapy with illustrations by Sue Heap, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, $16.99, Ages 4-8), is quite possibly the most adorable retelling of a classic fairytale.

Very-Little-Red-cvr.gifJust as in the original fairy tale, Very Little Red Riding Hood is going to visit her Grandmama. In this version, Red, a wee toddler, is taking her suitcase and red teddy bear with her for a sleepover. Along the way, Red meets Wolf, but instead of being afraid, she’s excited and gives him a big hug. Heapy chooses her words wisely, and masters the voice and diction of a toddler. Heap’s illustrations show the wide-eyed innocence and playful antics of a child that age.

Red captures the wolf’s heart and wraps him around her very little finger. They pick flowers for Grandmama, but “Foxie” as she calls the wolf, doesn’t get it right.

“NOOO!” screamed Very Little Red Riding Hood.
“Not LELLO flowers. RED!” So they picked some red flowers.

Between carrying her suitcase and the flowers, and playing chasing games all the way to Grandmama’s, Wolf is tired out by the time they arrive. Red is still bubbling over with energy. Grandmama is reluctant to let the wolf into her house, but Red, like many toddlers, manages to get her way again. The wolf comes in for a cup of tea, and stays to play hide-and-seek, to dance, and to draw. Grandmama and Wolf are very tired and want Red to go to sleep. But, Red misses her Mummy, bursts into tears, and can’t be consoled by her Grandmama, who turns to the wolf for help. Wolf gives it a try, and just when you think he’s going to eat Red … well, that wouldn’t be a very good ending for a children’s book especially just before bedtime, now would it? Not as sweet an ending as a good tickle, a lot of laughter, a sleeping toddler, and a happily ever after.

Click here for a Very Little Red Riding Hood Activity Kit

NOTE:  This is the first book in a must-have read-aloud series of three, followed by Very Little Cinderella, and Very Little Sleeping Beauty.

– Reviewed by MaryAnne Locher


Career Humor for the Youngest Readers

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I have often expressed my concern for the lack of career education offered in our schools. We teach our children to read and write, but don’t teach them much about choosing a career or getting a job when they graduate. Then along comes How to Get a Job: By Me the Boss ($17.99, Schwartz and Wade, ages 4 -8). This book introduces the youngest readers to the subject of careers and jobs, in a most adorable, original and entertaining way. Cleverly written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and imaginatively illustrated by Sue Heap, you will love reading this book to your children. It combines pertinent information about specific careers and resume writing with some silly tidbits, supported by darling, colorful illustrations.  For example, “If you are Mommy or Daddy first you get some children…You MUST be good at changing diapers and not throw up.”  Then there’s a list of what else you must be good at to be a Mommy or Daddy such as “liking your children more than other people like them.”

Go ahead and get this book and read it to your kids, or even to yourself. I promise you’ll get a good chuckle, and you’ll learn a thing or two, too.

– Reviewed by Debbie Glade