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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Little Red Riding Hood by Jerry Pinkney

After his recent death, I wanted to do a book with Kate that paid homage to Jerry Pinkney. But having already done Mirandy and Brother Wind and Sam and the Tigers, I thought I might go in a different direction today. Now Jerry was a huge fan of fairy tales, and Little Red Riding Hood has always stood out to me as one of his more interesting books. Setting the book in winter was a fascinating choice, maybe even a challenge, for the artist. The storyline is very faithful to the original Grimm tale with some notable changes. Plus, this book is, as far as I’m concerned, peak Pinkney. But is it classic enough in the end? Only one way to find out.

Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, PlayerFM, or your preferred method of podcast selection.

Show Notes:

I mention in the course of the show that a big influence on Jerry was cartoonist John J. Liney, who worked on the “Little Henry” comic strips. William H. Foster, author of the book Looking for a Face Like Mine: The History of African Americans in Comics offers this piece Henry: Not Black Like Me to argue that the strip was less racist than its contemporaries. Not sure if the examples he cites completely back up that statement, but it’s an interesting article.

Pinkney had to make a number of certain decisions in the course of this story. For example, he justifies the wolf’s early restraint (not eating Little Red Riding Hood on the spot) by showing that woodcutters are nearby, and the wolf doesn’t want to attract their attention.

Kate, dog owner, took one look at this image and figured that this was Little Red berating the wolf and him having none of it.

I know it looks like the Blue Jay is helping her, but I’m half convinced that this sucker is stealing Red’s carefully gathered gains.

Kate says, “I’ve never seen a squirrel make that face before.”

Look at the musculature on the wolf in this image. Clearly Pinkney studied how a wolf’s limbs were act when vertical. I particularly like the creepy shadow. Is it at all surprising that this book sometimes reminds me of Lon Po Po?

Kate’s the one who pointed out this next feature and I find it fascinating. Grandma appears to have a mini bottle on her sidetable. Now look at that bottle after the wolf has had his fill.

Meanwhile, Pinkney also has fun with Grandma’s image of herself before and after the wolf’s villainy.

I mention Fairytale Comics in the course of things. This is a great book. And it definitely contains my favorite “woodcutter” character.

Betsy Suggests: Holiday Baking Championship

Kate Suggests: Baking Impossible

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.