BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Bea Reviews Little Roja Riding Hood by Susan Middleton Elya

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile 
Format Read: epub
Source: We Give Books free read
Release Date: April 10, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | Barnes & Noble
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Blurb from goodreads:

While Roja picks flowers on the way to her grandma's, a mean wolf sneaks away with her cape to surprise Abuelita. But Grandma's no fool and Roja's no ordinary chica. They send that hungry lobo packing with a caliente surprise!
This sassy retelling of Little Red Riding Hood has accessible Spanish rhymes and fresh illustrations, with hip cultural details throughout.

Bea's Thoughts:

This was a cute, delightful re-telling of "Little Red Riding Hood". Set in the 21st century, Red's family speaks Spanish and look Latino. We're not given any information about the family, the author purposefully leaves it vague. The text is mostly in English, with several Spanish words sprinkled in on each page. There's a glossary and pronunciation guide of the Spanish words at the beginning, which I was glad to see. Too often, books for younger readers that incorporate or try to teach a second language fail to include a pronunciation guide, which makes the book useless for learning words in another language. The story is told in rhyme and flows well.

And now, when folks knock for whatever razon,
Abuela's reply is the same, set in stone.

Both Roja and her abuela are brave and clever. They don't need a woodsman to save them. Okay, Roja was gullible when talking to the wolf in the forest but she redeems herself later. The wolf doesn't fool abuela for one minute but she plays along while she comes up with a plan. Both Roja and abuela are good role models.

The illustrations have delightful details and borrow from other fairy tales. If you look closely at Roja's basket of food for her abuela, you can see three blind mice napping and later they help chase the wolf out of abuela's house. There are mischievous pixies on  every page, playing tricks and causing trouble. There's also a flock of birds who follow Roja and if you look closely again, you'll see that they are speaking in Spanish, though the words they use are not included in the glossary. I believe they were trying to warn Roja about the lobo (wolf). There are many such little details that add to the illustrations. The colors are vivid pastels and muted tones, and yes I realize that calling such tones vivid seems a contradiction but there's nothing pale or washed about these colors.

Elya gives the story a new ending, one consistent with the story and it's 21st century setting. It made me laugh. I enjoyed this story and recommend it for anyone who enjoys fairy tales or smart stories with humor.

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