By Stefania Rudd. Do you have little ones in your life who are drawn to the world of comics through movies, cartoons, and video games, but you’re not sure what to start them with, or even know what’s appropriate?
We got you! Books for Babes aims to provide info on what books kids will enjoy, but are also entertaining for adults. This week, we review ‘Little Red Wolf’, the simply gorgeous new work by Amélie Fléchais from Lion Forge Comics and CubHouse.
Re-imagining a beloved fairy tale can be tricky, and keeping the integrity of the original while presenting a new perspective takes balance. In The Little Red Wolf, Amélie Fléchais does something unexpected with the story of “Little Red Riding Hood”. She takes a character from the immortal fairy tale and places them in the role of the little one in the red hood: the wolf.
The story starts out similarly enough to the original, introducing us to a family of wolves and focusing on the littlest one always dressed in red. And just like “Little Red Riding Hood”, the Little Red Wolf’s mother has tasked the pup to take some goodies (here, a dead rabbit) to his grandmother’s house. The fastest way there is through the woods, but his mother warns him to avoid the dead wood forest — that’s where the cruel hunter and his daughter dwell.
Of course, the Little Red Wolf doesn’t mind his mother. As he travels through the forest he begins to get hungry and decides to nibble on the rabbit intended for his grandmother. His hunger gets away from him and soon the rabbit is gone. Feeling distraught over what he has done, a sweet little girl comes along and offers to help. He foolishly accepts her help and by the time he realizes she’s the hunter’s daughter it’s too late… or is it?
This is where Fléchais puts her own spin on the tale. There’s more of a backstory as to why the hunter — and subsequently, his daughter — are so hellbent on destroying wolves. It isn’t until the Little Red Wolf is saved that he learns another perspective to the hunter’s actions. Although the story does end with the Little Red Wolf safe at home, there are enough loose ends lingering in the periphery to keep us guessing as to what may happen next.
Fléchais artwork is absolutely breathtaking! It’s easy to become lost in the pages of The Little Red Wolf; there’s a dream-like quality to it, and the details, no matter how small, are always conveyed with intention and thoughtfulness. There is a sweet innocence to the Little Red Wolf’s face, and Fléchais provides us moments to gaze upon the little girl’s lovely face — she looks so saccharine-sweet, why wouldn’t you trust her? (Even the rabbit tucked away in Wolf’s basket is so adorable you begin to hope it’s only sleeping.)
The dimensions on display here — seen in the depths of the woods or our peek at the underground dwellings of other cute forest creatures — provide a profundity to the story that makes this unique vision feel as timeless as the original. The color palette is just what one would hope for in a story like this. Autumnal earthy tones are contrasted by darker and sinister hues, making the red of the Little Wolf pop off the page.
There are many themes and interpretations attached to The Little Red Wolf. Those themes range from simple (obey your parents) to complex (grief and hate will consume you if you allow it), though Fléchais presents the story in such a way that it avoids telling you what sort of way you should feel. Depending on your age and your life experiences, you have the ability to interpret the tale with your own metaphors and symbolism. No matter how you decipher this book, one thing is for sure — it will stay with you in all its haunting beauty.
Written by Amélie Fléchais.
Art by Amélie Fléchais.
This book contains the loss of a loved one, cruelty towards others, and themes of death, grief.
Age range 8-11; 12-15; 16+
That’s it for this week! Has Books For Babes helped you out at all? We want to know! Feel free to send feedback our way in the comments section below.