Young, Ed. 1989. LON PO PO: A RED-RIDING HOOD STORY FROM CHINA. Ill. by Ed Young. New York: Philomel Books. ISBN 0399216197
(2) Plot Summary
Three little girls are home alone and a wolf gains entry into the house disguised as their old grandmother. He plans to eat the children and climbs into bed with them. The eldest see the wolf’s face and devises a plan to get away. She entices the wolf with talk of gingko nuts, “Gingko is soft and tender, like the skin of a baby. One taste and you will live forever.” The wolf complains that he is old and can no longer climb up trees. The girl tells him that she and her siblings will go pick some Gingko nuts. Once outside she tells her sisters about the wolf and they scurry up the tree. Can they out smart the wolf at this own game?
(3) Critical Analysis
This version of the classic Little Red Riding Hood tale takes the story to new dramatic and frightening limits. The wolf is anthropomorphic enough to actually pass for the girls’ grandmother. He knows he is clever but underestimates the wit of his young victim. The illustrations add to the realism of this progressive plot. Young does an excellent job of staying within the culture. The reader does not doubt that the story takes place in China. Young’s beautiful and powerful watercolors add a spooky and mysterious effect. The images are broken up to create the illusion of a wall scroll which intensifies the flow of action.
(4) Review Except(s)
School Library Journal: “With forceful impressionistic paintings, Young artfully entices readers across the fairy-tale threshold…”
Booklist: “Young incorporates a wolf image into every illustration in this Chinese version of the familiar… tale, imparting a sense of courage as well as danger.”
*Read a tale of Little Red Riding Hood to the class.
*Read other tales with wolves:
Hennessy, B.G. The Boy Who Cried Wolf. ISBN 0689874332
Seibert, Patricia. Three Little Pigs. ISBN 1577683676
White, Mark. The Wolf In Sheep's Clothing. ISBN: 1404802207
*Discuses the story from the wolf’s point of view. Why are wolves portrayed in literature as bad?