I love fairy tales. But I don't always love the way they are retold. However, Little Red and Rapunzel, written and illustrated by Bethan Woollvin are the right combination of striking illustrations and an dash of girl power!
It's nothing new to empower the heroine of a fairy tale, but I still haven't tired of it! In Little Red, Woollvin starts off with the familiar story, sending Red into the woods with cake and a warning. There are always two things I am looking for when I read a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood - what happens to Grandma and how does the wolf meet his end? In Woollvin's retelling, Grandma does get eaten. However, when Little Red peeks in the window of Grandma's house upon arrival, she sees the "badly disguised wolf." And, while this "might have scared some little girls," not Little Red.
She makes a plan and heads inside. We see Little Red with an axe in her hand and, on the final page, we see her heading home, a fur coat having replaced her red cloak. While this is a nice turn to a familiar story, it is Woollvin's monochromatic, print-like illustrations and creative perspectives that make Little Red the gem that it is, with one potential loose end - Grandma is not seen again. . .
Rapunzel features more stunning illustrations and a meatier retelling of the fairy tale. Rapunzel, imprisoned in a tower, the witch cutting her "golden locks to sell for riches," uses her smarts to escape. Reading a copy of How to Defeat Witches she found in the woods, Rapunzel makes a friend and a plan.
When the witch discovers she has been leaving the tower, Rapunzel is ready with a big pair of scissors and a ladder made of vines. As she heads off into the woods, the (presumably dead) witch's feet and a pile of golden hair sticking out from behind the tower, she dons a disguise. The wanted posters for local witches tacked to a tree in the foreground, giving readers a clue as to Rapunzel's new career path.
While I love both books, I especially loved the clever twist Woollvin brought to Rapunzel. I can't wait to see which fairy tale she brings her marvelous illustration style and enchanting perspective to next!
Source: Review Copies