Little Red is back in da hood!


The munchkin had started chanting the song of Little Red Riding Hood this week, prompting me to finally open that cardboard box replete with Ladybird books, fairytale books and many more treasures of my childhood.

I have been raving about these books since I was a child, because the artwork, to me, was quite beautiful, although highly romanticised. The princesses looked like real princesses should (Ancien RĂ©gime style) while the men looked like burly hunters in medieval dress. Go figure. But they were hugely appealing and they seem to be working for the munchkin, who naturally pounced on Little Red Riding Hood with glee.

SO and I though found ourselves reading this book with a certain degree of discomfort and a running ironic commentary.

Little Red takes her grandmother cake and a wine, because grandmother is ill and according to her mother, they will do her good. Sounds like someone is a wino, no? She is expressly told to walk carefully and not to run of she will break the bottle and have no wine for grandmother. Wow. Call AA presto.

The wolf is a dashing large dog, who, in human form, would be reminiscent of a winking Lothario or even Joey from Friends: 'hey, how you doing?". He subsequently tells her to smell the roses, instead of walking straight along the path. Of course, the guileless creature caves in under such manly pressure and makes straight for the grasslands carpeted with flowers. Can you blame her (with such pretty illustrated daisies)?

However, when Little Red has gathered so many flowers that her arms were full, she begins to think of her grandmother again and returns to the path. Harrumph.

Arriving at grandmother's cottage, she has some up close and personal time with el wolfo, who then gobbles her up in one mouthful. SO clearly had forgotten the lunch and dinner part, and said incredulously: "Nooooo, what do you mean, he gobbles her up?". Enter the burly woodcutter, aka Little Red's Big Daddy, who kills the wolf with one fell swoop of his dangerous axe. Sharp objects around children, tsk.

And out of the wolf's humongous stomach jump Little Red, and her grandma, who is miraculously revived after a bottle of wine. See, I told you, definitely a raging alcoholic or a very fine wine.

Red then goes on to swear to her mother that 'As long as I live, I shall never again leave the forest path when you have warned me not to do so'. Yeah sure, until you're a teenager and your hormones kick in and you're not even capable of thinking clearly for the next ten years at least.

I tell you, fairytales never quite have the same magical effect when you're an adult.

The munchkin, of course, lapped it up like cream.

Next installment: Rumpelstiltskin, the fairytale equivalent of Michael Jackson, in preparation of our visit to the puppet theatre on Wednesday.

5 messages:

Piglet said...

Reading this summary it's so bloody obvious that fairytales are about one thing, and one thing only: sex.
"Smell the roses?"

I always cringe when I read fairytales to the kids I babysit, especially when it comes to the violence. "And then the wolf... er... er... the hunter said, give back little red riding hood and the wolf said ok. The end."
"That's not how it goes"
"Oh yes, it is. Night night."

Lula de Montes said...

Erm, we have been looking for a babysitter for quite some time now...?

Piglet said...

If your kid goes to the same school as Marcel Vanthilt's kid I think we live pretty far away :)

Besides, I'm a crap babysitter. Weetniet always was the tough one, I'm the one the kids walk over.

Anonymous said...

I remember pictures like those. I must have had similar books. Can't beat good old fashioned fairy tales.

Lula de Montes said...

@Sieg: yeah, but the hurdles that come with them. I could really see that she was trying to understand the part where the woodcutter kills the wolf. I'm just waiting for the 'why' questions to crop up soon.
@piglet: as long as people are nice, I don't really care. Having a babysitter should be fun ;-)

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