I normally don’t mention many fractured fairytales on this blog. They seem to get enough attention on their own and I am such a snotty purist, I prefer to stick to the originals. But now and again a fractured tale captures my imagination. Little Red Writing by Joan Holub, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, is one of them. This is such a fun and clever take on the Little Red Riding Hood story that I hardly know where to begin.
In brief, it is the tale of Little Red, a pencil, who is given a writing assignment by her teacher, Ms. 2. She goes in search of a good story armed with a basket of red nouns because as she points out, “red is the color of courage!” Along the way she encounters the many dangers of writing such as “the deep, dark, descriptive forest” (the library), run-on sentences, verbs, punctuation, and numerous other aspects of writing. At last she finds herself in Principal Granny’s office where a nasty electrical pencil sharpener, Wolf 3000, awaits her. Of course, Little Red knows exactly what to do. She saves principal Granny and returns to her homeroom just in time to hear the other pencils share their stories and read her own.
The humor and verbal wit is amazing and the illustrations not only complement the story, they add immensely to the overall humor. This is a book for children and adults to read and re-read in order to savor all the deliciously funny and clever details. As always with a fractured tale, make sure the children are familiar with Little Red Riding Hood so they can truly appreciate the wonders of this version and get inspired to write themselves.