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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Little Red Riding Hood Spoof Is Fun

Little Red Gliding Hood
Written by Tara Lazar and illustrated by Troy Cummings
Random House, Oct. 2015
Ages 2-5

Little Red Riding Hood has taken up ice skating in this spoof on the traditional fairy tale. She has worn out her skates and is determined to win a pairs skating competition and the prize of new skates. But who will be her skating partner? The Dish has paired up with the Spoon. Hansel has Gretel. The Seven Dwarfs are busy at hockey. Little Red has a strange encounter with the Big Bad Wolf and gets a crazy idea that just might work.

This new spin on the traditional fairy tale is loaded with funny references to other fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Little Red knocks on the Three Little Pigs’ door saying, “Little pigs, little pigs, let me in!” The Big Bad Wolf taps on her shoulder and says, “Excuse me. I think that’s my line.” When the Big Bad Wolf takes the ice at the competition, he frightens Little Miss Muffet away. Little Miss Muffet bumps Little Jack Horner into the corner. Humpty Dumpty has a great fall and Jack and Jill come tumbling after. 

The colorful illustrations are bright and active. Children will enjoy looking for all of their favorite fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters.

The story’s surprise ending shows small children that people aren’t always what they seem. The Big Not-So-Bad Wolf is Little Red’s skating partner, and the two win the competition.

Usually, the book works, but occasionally references to fairy tales sound a bit rough and forced. When all the skaters are frightened of the Big Bad Wolf, the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe “had so many children on the ice, she didn’t know what to do.”


About the Author and Illustrator:

Tara Lazar was once a champion figure skater. She writes quirky, funny picture books featuring magical places that are a joy to visit. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two young daughters. Her blog and website is

Troy Cummings  flails his arms about wildly and leaves behind a trail of crooked lines until he crashes to the ground when he tries to skate. The other books he has illustrated include “The Eensy Weensy Spider Freaks Out! (Big-Time!),” “Giddy-Up, Daddy!” and “The Notebook of Doom.” He lives in Greencastle, Ind., with his family and cat. See more of his work at  

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New Monster Book Will Amuse Youngsters

I Want to Eat Your Books
Written by Karin Lefranc and illustrated by Tyler Parker.
Sky Pony Press, Sept. 2015
Ages 3-6

The new kid at school turns out to be a zombie, but he’s hungry for books instead of his classmates. He chomps through a science book, a textbook, and “Sharks at Sea,” as the narrator hurries to hide his favorite “Frankenstein.”

When the teacher announces library time, the kids have to come up with a plan fast to stop the hungry zombie from destroying all the books. The narrator offers the zombie a book about the brain. Somehow the subject interests the zombie, even though he eats books not brains. And suddenly, he is converted to reading books instead of eating them. “I WANT TO READ YOUR BOOKS!” he shouts. Then another monster, a mummy, bursts in and the zombie tames her and reads her a book.

Parker’s full-page illustrations are vibrant and colorful, and amp up the book’s energy. The book’s rhyming iambic couplets and the monster’s repeated cries of “I WANT TO EAT YOUR BOOKS!” add to the fun and excitement.

“Oh no!” cries Eric. “Take a look. / He’s chomping on your science book!” / “And now he’s got a paperback / he’s munching as a midday snack.
“He looks at us with bulgy eyes / and chews a torn-off page and cries: / I WANT TO EAT YOUR BOOKS!

On the negative side, the rhymes are sometimes a little clunky and the ending about the mummy seems a bit tacked on and rushed.

Nevertheless, this energetic, funny book will appeal to youngsters. Parents and teachers will appreciate the message about reading. And it’s coming out just in time for Halloween.

The publisher is also providing a classroom guide with language arts activities that address Common Core Standards.

About the Author and Illustrator:

Karen Lefranc grew up all over the world, living in Sweden, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, before moving to the U.S. to attend Bard College in New York. She lives in Connecticut with her three daughters and son, who love devouring books of all kinds. Karin is a certified children’s yoga instructor. This is her debut picture book.

Tyler Parker received his BFA in illustration from the Maryland Institute College of Art and also has an MA in sequential design and illustration from the University of Brighton. He is the illustrator of more than seven children’s books including “Monsters Meet on Mondays” and “The Ice Cream Shuffle” and lives in Seattle.