In an effort to get back on some kind of regular blogging bandwagon, I am to make every effort to remember to do a TGIFTF every second Friday. Don’t hold your breath on that but I am going to try. That has always been the plan, but as with everything else, life sometimes has a way of changing even the best laid plans.
Today, I am sharing a fractured fairy tale that we just received in a recent order of books. I hadn’t read more than the first two pages when I realized how much I was going to love this book.
Little Roja Riding Hood is written by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Susan Guevara and published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. The silver seal on its cover signifies that Little Roja Riding Hood is the recipient of the Pura Belpre honor award presented by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, an ALA affiliate. The award is given to Latino writers and illustrators whose work “best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth”. [source]
As you may know or have guessed by now, I love me some fairy tales. And “Little Red Riding Hood” in any and all versions, is right up there at the top of my list of favs. Right up there with “Cinderella”, et al. I was pleased to discover this version of Lil Red when I was creating my spring book orders.
Now let me show you why!
The book opens with a glossary, something I usually teach my students to look for in the back of the book, but ok, we can change that up.
This glossary not only provides definitions but gives translations in English for the Spanish sprinkled throughout the book. Much of which can also be deciphered through context and familiarity with this folktale.
The first word in the glossary is abue which happens to be a shortened version of grandmother, something like gran, granny or Mimi, maybe?
Let me use it in a sentence for you.
I am Cady and Lucia’s abue.
Let’s get back to our book.
True to most stories of this genre, Little Roja begins with “There once was…“, a clue I have taught my students to use in order to help recognize a fairy tale.
Little Roja is beckoned by her mother to take a pot of steaming hot sopa (soup) to her ailing abue. I love these illustrations! Check out the telenovela (soap opera) on the TV, the three blind mice swinging from the basket, the dozing kitty with one eye open and the little elves or sprites hovering in the air above the geranium. I love the ceramic tile on the floor, the mother’s freshly manicured nails with polish and nail file on the counter. Lots of clever detail abounds.
In rhyming prose, this version continues with Roja walking through the forest to grandmother’s house when she is approached by a wolf complete in gangster-type bandana and a skull necklace. One woolly cholo. Our girl is coaxed into removing her cape in order to pick some flowers for granny. El lobo (the wolf) disguises himself with the red capa and hood and heads to grandmother’s house straight away.
With her arms filled with sunflowers and the canasta of soup, L.R. finally arrives at abuela’s door. Red realizes she has misplaced her cape just as she peeks into the window only to see the wolf wearing it in an attempt to fool the old woman.
You know how the story goes…what big ojos you have…what big orejas you have…what sharp dientes you have…
But here the story takes a new twist.
One that you will have to read for yourself!
Then ends with a happily ever after once abue tightens the security around her home.
There are so many little things in Susan Guevara’s illustrations that add to the Spanish flavor of the story. I noticed something rising in the steam from the pot of hot soup in the first illustrations – pasta alphabet letters? mushrooms? What were those things?
But at the end of the story, the images became crystal clear.
Milagro charms. Charms that are used to inspire milagros or miracles, to protect or restore health.
A small flock of crows caws continual warnings and advice to Roja throughout the book; children can be invited to keep an eye open for the three blind mice and the little sprites in each illustration.
Little Roja Riding Hood is written on a second grade, fifth month (2.5) reading level. And is a title for which there is an Accelerated Reader reading quiz. You can order a copy through Amazon.com here.
If you will excuse me, I am headed to Amazon.com myself to complete the purchase of the three copies of this book I have in my shopping cart.
One for Cady, one for Lucia and one for abue.
Thank you for coming by!
Abrazos y besos,