Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood

288p. ebook available. Knopf. Apr. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780385755832; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9780385755849.
Gr 4–7—The third in Shurtliff's collection of fairy tale-inspired spin-offs, Red takes readers on a wild roam through story land, with plenty of magic and danger around every corner. The title character is entrusted by her parents to make her way through the woods and mountains to find a cure for her ailing Granny. Storybook characters pop up unpredictably to help (and hinder) her along the way. She learns quickly that "beautiful" and "good" are not synonymous and how to take risks in the face of fear. Shurtliff deftly weaves familiar characters and subplots into an original jaunt through the fairy tale genre. The protagonist is plucky and determined but unsure of her own powers of decision-making. Goldie, Red's less-than-stellar sidekick, adds an innocence that Red lacks, as well as a perfect possible protagonist for a future installment. The dialogue between characters is contemporary and humorous. Every secondary character leaves a lasting impression on Red, setting up readers to anticipate each new encounter with dwarfs, sprites, or beasts. As moralizing as fairy tales can be, the author wisely lets Red make mistakes and draw her own conclusions.
VERDICT This is pure fun for fans of classic stories cleverly retold.

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