Sunday, August 22, 2010

Little Red Riding Hood - A Book Review

HRH got a summer reading list as part of his holiday homework. One of the books he was supposed to read was 'Little Red Riding Hood' from the Ladybird series. 

I had already told him the story many times before. We would both act out the parts of the wolf and Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH). My version (as passed down from my parents) included the wolf eating Grandma and then being axed to death by LRRH's woodcutter father. 

I had  also very cleverly (I thought) incorporated the never-talk-to-strangers concept in it. (While walking through the forest on her way to Grandma's, LRRH meets the wolf. The wolf asks LRRH where she's going and she foolishly tells him. This results in Grandma's death as the wolf rushes over to the poor old lady's house before LRRH gets there, giving him ample time to devour Grandma and dress up in her clothes and get in her bed.)

After HRH read the Ladybird version he looked distinctly disappointed. This version had no wolf eating grandmother bit. In fact grandmother's presence was simply non-existent. The wolf was in her bed when LRRH got there. Also missing was the wolf being hacked to death by LRRH's father when the animal attacked her (post the 'Grandma, grandma what big eyes/ears/nose/teeth you have' conversation).

Some may think it's a good idea to not scar children emotionally by introducing the disturbing concepts of murder, death and bloodshed.  I personally thought (as did HRH) that Ladybird's version was plain boring. 

As we know justice is rarely served in the real world (or at least in our part of the world). At least in fairytales then, the villain should get what he deserves.


  1. excellent post. interesting how we always heard the uncensored versions of these 'childrens' storybooks. the last paragraph really moved me. its so painful to read, but so true.

  2. RIGHTLY SAID, besides we have to be a little more straight forward and practical with our kids, as the West writes according to there well developed system. We don't have that accessory. So we have to incorporate and prepare the young minds according to our culture and society. The last part was painful.

  3. I don't agree I think world is not a place of yin and yang (the perfect place of trinquility). Look around you how many villains are left punnished everyday. I think it's fair that we teach the kids that in real life mostly joker doesnot has to kill the batman. All he has to do is to kill his politician wife, make it look like he was not involved and stand in the elections and cheat to win it to take over Pakistan oops I mean Gotham city.