Review Blog

Sep 09 2019

I am so clever by Mario Ramos

cover image

Gecko Press, 2019. ISBN: 9781776572496.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Fairy Tales, Red Riding Hood, Wolves. In a turned about version of Red Riding Hood, we have a wolf who thinks he is very clever, being outsmarted by the girl in the red cloak.
The story begins in the usual way with Red Riding Hood taking a basket of goodies to an ailing grandma on the other side of the woods. The wolf convinces her to tarry, picking flowers for grandma, while he scurries off to the house to eat her up and be ready for the little girl as dessert.
With Grandma nowhere to be seen, the wolf puts on her nightgown, taking her place in bed, ready to eat the girl when she appears. But first he must wipe away his paw prints from the doorway and when he goes outside to do this, the door slams and shuts him out.
He encounters the woodsman searching for his glasss, and spies the bears, three little pigs, a prince looking for Sleeping Beauty and seven dwarves off for a shower. He sees Red Riding Hood and tries to accost her but falls flat on his face, his feet tripping over the long nightogown, so breaking his teeth and leaving him with egg on his face. He is shamefaced, not eating the two people he expected to eat that day. Too clever for his own good.
This engrossing version of Red Riding Hood will have readers recalling other versions and telling their own stories about the characters met during the reading. I do like the inclusion of the other tales as background to the wolf's meanderings in the woods, and love the turn about of the original story. The illustrations will appeal to the readers, especially watching closely the various expressions on the wolf's face as he changes from a confident and clever wolf to one despairing, embarrassed wolf at the end.
Translated from Le Plus Malin (2011) I turned the page expecting a little more.
Fran Knight

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