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****The Wolf's Story

What Really Happened to Little Red Riding Hood

by Toby Forward

illustrated by Izhar Cohen

Reviewed April 24, 2006.
Candlewick Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2005.  28 pages.

Available at Sembach Library (E FOR).

The Wolf’s Story is a delightful picture book in the tradition of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, by Jon Scieszka.  In this book, we have the wolf of the Red Riding Hood story explaining that he was completely innocent, a victim of prejudice and misunderstanding.

He says, “I did odd jobs for the old woman.  Called her Grandma.  We were close.”

“Every week, the kid came, with a big basket of toffee….  Me, I didn’t like the kid being there.  She never spoke to me.  She seemed nervous.  Can you believe that?  When Little Red was there, I felt left out.”

And so it continues.  The poor, misunderstood wolf explains how Grandma was simply reaching for her best dress in the wardrobe, when she slipped and knocked herself out.  The wolf panicked, sure he’d be suspected.  “It looked bad.  Not everyone trusts a wolf.   I thought they might say I’d done something bad to Grandma.”

You know how it ends.  The poor wolf lost part of his tail to the woodsman’s axe.  He ends by offering to do odd jobs for the reader.  “No, please.  Look at me.  Would I lie to you?  The reader can decide for himself if the wolf’s story sounds plausible.

I love the way a story told from the “villain’s” perspective becomes a different story entirely.  It’s a nice exercise for putting yourself in someone else’s place, realizing that things look different from someone else’s viewpoint, and not being too quick to judge.  Besides, it’s fun!  I’m still not sure I trust the wolf….

Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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