Little Red Hood

Author: Marjolaine Leray
Translator: Sarah Ardizzone

Age: 5+
RRP: £7.99
ISBN: 9781907912009
Publication Date: 10-03-2011
Format: Hb, 132mm x 206mm
Extent: 40 pages

This Little Red Hood has a few tricks up her sleeve...

She started life as a little red scribble and then, there she was: a little red hood, barely recognisable as the legend from the fairy tale. The wolf is still big and bad, but he also happens to be really, really dumb. Little Red Hood questions the wolf’s personal hygiene before tricking her predator into his demise: this is one savvy little red scrawl with her head screwed on.

Edgy, stylish and very funny, this book retells the famous story in an unexpected way.

Book Extract


"Leray’s startling, pared-down scenes show what drama can be achieved with one red crayon, a little black ink and immense French style. Well done Phoenix Yard for introducing a British audience to this. It’s totally brilliant."

The Times, Amanda Craig, 19th February 2011

"Someone is always going to come out badly in any version of the classic story of how a little girl in a red hood fares against a big bad wolf. This time, the action never reaches the grandmother so the tension – vividly illustrated in sketchy line drawings – is between the wolf and the fierce but insouciant little girl. The familiar phrases of big ears and big teeth are bandied between the two before the dramatic final showdown. An elegant and sophisticated tease of a book."

The Guardian, Julia Eccleshare, 23rd April 2011

"This is *the* most humorous, clever and witty rendition of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ that we’ve had the pleasure of reading.

Using only red and black across the blank white pages, with limited text and not a bed-ridden Grandmother in sight, this quirky take on a classic pushes the boundaries and for that reason alone, we love it!"

Picture Books Blogger, 8th February 2015

"If there's anyone out there who is worried about the future of children's publishing, here's a book to cheer them. It's all frighteningly good: author, translator, publishing house - all young, fresh, independent, and talented. A book that made an old hack of an academic sigh with pleasure at the minimalist originality, and small readers on the knee turn the pages with rapt attention, and then turn back for a rerun. What else could you ask for? (5+)"

Peter Hunt, Professor of Children's Literature Newcastle University, Books for Keeps, Best Children's Books of 2011, Issue No. 192

"This book looks like it was illustrated by Cookie Monster or perhaps just a scribble monster … and I absolutely love it. The simplistic scribbles of one red pencil say so much in this petite gorgeous hardback. With the childlike scrawl playing an important part in this sassy story. So yes, we all know the story of Little Red Riding Hood but what if it played out a little differently? What if Little Red Riding Hood had a bit more moxy and a lot less patience for the wolf?
Let’s just say wolf isn’t near as scary as he thinks and Miss Red Riding Hood has a little something up her sleeve. If you can find a copy of this make sure you snap it up … before the wolf or even perhaps Red Riding Hood gets you!
A super stylish re-telling of a classic."

Kids Book Review, Australia, 2011

"Translated from a French original, this takes the core elements of Little Red Riding Hood and runs amok with them. Working on the basis that less is more, visually it's a pared-down mass of impressionistic scribbles. The wolf, for instance, is just a rough grey scrawl with formidable teeth.  In graphic terms, compared to the run-of the mill picture book, it's a real breath of fresh air. The text itself is very minimal, but be assure this isn't the helpless Red Hood of yore. This incarnation won't stand for any nonsense and she doesn't need the assistance of a woodcutter to send that nasty old wolf on his way. The first offering from ambitious new publishing house Phoenix Yard, this may enrapture just as many adult fans as children. Fresh, smart and knowing, it's very spirited, very stylish and, yes, very French."

Kids Confidential, 2011

“This picture bookis stunning in its simplicity. It's one of those things which you look at and think, 'Why didn't I come up with this?' The illustrations are beautifully minimalist, all done in red and black pencil in a whimsical doodling fashion, and look like they belong on a proud parent's fridge door for all the world to see. The story follows the basic premise of the classic Little Red Riding Hood story, but has a marvellous twist that harks back to the clever, and brave Red of the 16th century original. With its pocket sized format and easy to follow story and pictures, it is the ideal book to keep in a bag, in order to entertain adults and children alike.”

Foyles Bookshop, 2011

"This book is very entertaining and deceptive in its apparent simplicity. Great fun!"

Louise Stothard, Armadillo Magazine, 2012

"Two colours, minimal words, no grandma and a role reversal make for an eye-opening take on the traditional story ... It definitely conveys a sense of power and control that small children in red cloaks don't often get to enjoy. Gruesomely satisfying."

Kirkus Reviews, May 2013

"A delightful subversion of the well-known tale. The language and illustrations are so spare yet fresh and immediate. Its principle charm is that, with the subtlest of pencil marks or tiniest of words, great depth of character and humour is conveyed. I think grown-ups will get the most out of this wonderful book."

Reviewer, Amazon UK, 2011

“I love this book - little red riding hood with attitude! The scribble style drawings are just the right style for such a sweet and yet edgy, witty book.”

Reviewer, Amazon UK, 2011

“This is a lovely book in every way - words, pictures, 'feel'. Witty and charming - a book to treasure. Was going to give it to a child but am keeping this copy!”

Reviewer, Amazon UK, 2011

The magic here is all in the delivery. Short, wide pages display pencil artwork so rough it looks as if scratched upon a napkin, with the wolf a tall, spindly, scribble of lines, and Red little more than a triangle. This effect can be rather abstractly scary—those teeth really are big—though Red’s lack of concern should transfer to the reader. The dialogue is unattributed but cleverly color-coded; the black sentences clearly belong to the wolf, the red ones to the little girl. It’s a strong, minimalist package that finishes as only an import can: the sudden choking death of the wolf upon one of Red’s offered candies.

Booklist Online

About the Author and Translator:

Marjolaine Leray was born in 1984 in a small village in the Loire-Atlantique. She moved to Paris and studied visual communication at the Duperré School of Art and is now a graphic designer.

Red is Sarah Ardizzone's favourite colour and Little Red Riding Hood is one of the fairy tales she relishes most, so she's thrilled to have had this opportunity to work on Little Red Hood.

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