The classic tale by the Brothers Grimm!
Writer/Artist: Michiyo Hayano
Translation: Camellia Nieh
Adaptation: Camellia Nieh
What They Say
Little Red Riding Hood - called that because of the red-hooded coat she always wore - was walking through the woods when she met a wolf on the road. The wolf wanted to eat the little girl right there and then, but knew that he'd be caught, so he asked her where she was going. She said she was taking some food to her sick grandmother. The wolf hatched a scheme and hurried to the girl's grandmother's house, where he took the place of the old woman in the bed. Would Little Red Riding Hood figure out the wolf was up to no good before he could eat her?
This hardcover’s price of $16.95 is on the pricier end for a child's storybook, but Dark Horse justifies it with an excellent production job. The color illustrations are lovely, and the print quality and durable paper stock do them justice. The cover gives a pretty good idea of the artwork within. The front features a charming Little Red Riding Hood surrounded by forest fauna and flora with the wolf peeping out of Grandmother's house in the backdrop. The much simpler back cover depicts the devious wolf sneaking about with a short blurb beneath him.
Though originally produced as part of a children's book series in Japan, nothing about the artwork screams manga. Little Red Riding Hood has an oversized head, eyes, and feet and is drawn sans nose like many manga child designs, but that aside, there isn't much to differentiate these illustrations from an American work. The pictures use a variety of hues in light tones (not pastels), and the feel of the illustrations tend toward cheerful and cute.
It's a storybook, not manga, so there are no dialogue bubbles, only text placed alongside the illustrations. Aside from a few misplaced commas, the translation is fine.
When I first saw this title, I expected a new twist on the popular fairytale -- a more mature version of the story or experimental artwork that would appeal to older readers. So it was a bit of a surprise to find out that Dark Horse's Little Red Riding Hood really is geared towards kids and sticks to the classic tale. That classic tale, of course, being that of the innocent little girl going into the forest to visit her sick grandmother and getting into trouble because she listens to a wolf.
As with most fairytales, the story has an element of violence (in this case, child and grandmother being swallowed by wolf and extricated by a hunter cutting them out), but the style of the illustrations keeps it from getting too scary. The wolf is more cartoony than realistic (he reminds me of a heftier version of Wile E. Coyote), and the pictures don't include any blood or gore even though one does depict the wolf with his stomach cut open. And the drawings detailing the wolf's ultimate demise are more comic than anything else. Probably the scariest illustration is the one of Little Red Riding Hood about to be swallowed by the wolf. However, the wolf's mouth is drawn so fantastically that Little Red Riding Hood looks more like she's being sucked into another dimension than being eaten.
Ultimately though, things end up happily for Little Red, and kids will come away with the message of this cautionary tale: be wary of strangers -- and avoid talking wolves.
It's a light, cheerful version of the classic Grimm fairytale. Nothing too scary here, and as long as you don't mind talking wolves being portrayed as evil and dying at the end, it's perfect for kids.