Easy-to-Read Wonder Tales
Finished: Dec. 16, 2010
First Published: Oct. 12. 2010
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, easy reader, fairy tales
"It's Halloween next week," said Jake.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Tundra Books.
Reason for Reading: My son read this out loud as his reader.
First, I'll mention that the cover is actually red, not the hot pink it appears to be in all the online pics. The cover is red for a reason, as you'll find out below.
Three children, who appear to be 9 or 10 year olds are looking talking about what they are going to be for Halloween. When the girl mentions she will be Little Red Riding Hood one of the boys says she'll need a hunter to save her and she says what hunter? she is saved by her magic red cape. And so she goes on to tell the Red Riding Hood story she knows. Then another says a similar version they've heard and they proceed to tell an ethnic version of the Red Riding Hood story. The rest of the book follows this pattern until all three children have told a fairy/folk tale from around the globe that is similar in some way to the famous version of Red Riding Hood but does not include any hunter (or woodsman). Then the final chapter brings us back to the children and their final Halloween costume decisions. All the books in this series follow the same format.
Each story in this book is very similar to the original tale with slight variations making them different. The first one is called Little Red Hood and is from France. The second is from Italy and very similar although their is no red hooded cape and finally, the third is from China and this one switches the situation around by having the "grandmother" come visit a boy while he is left home alone. This is perhaps my least favourite of the 5 books in this series simply because the stories are so very similar to each other while the other books often presented stories with huge differences. But that is only a comparison of the book to the series as a whole. DS enjoyed it as much as any of the others, and particularly enjoyed the endings as the wolf always meets a brutal end in each story. Between each story there is a segue that returns to the original three children and introduces the new tale. The book does manage to bring in some facts about the wolf and its bad image in modern times from these old fairy tales into the story which was a nice and appreciated surprise. But so was the boy's response to the fairy tale wolf, that he should have stopped eating grandmothers and little girls if he didn't want to be feared! The last page in the book tells the author's sources from which she based her tales that may perhaps inspire some to reading the original ethnic tales.
We have now read the entire series and both ds and I highly recommend this set of easy readers for libraries and classrooms, as well as home shelves.