Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T Smith

Published by Scholastic (ISBN: 978-1407143903)

Little Red goes to see her auntie who woke up covered in spots. On her way, she meets a Very Hungry Lion who comes up with a Very Naughty Plan. However, he has met his match and ends up eating doughnuts instead.

This is a funny, beautifully illustrated version of Little Red Riding Hood with an African setting. Little Red in this telling is bright and feisty and so, although the story follows the ‘What..you have..’ of the original, this Little Red uses each opportunity to outsmart the lion. 

Before the story starts, we are introduced to Little Red and the Lion so we are in on the fact that things are not going to go as the Lion is planning. The humour is maintained by both the illustrations and the text which is a real pleasure to read aloud. 

An excellent and very enjoyable story for sharing, this book also cries out for closer scrutiny and many re-readings! The illustrations are an absolute joy and the warm colours add to their appeal. This could be used as a way into work on colour in art. Children could enjoy re-telling the story from the lion’s point of view, both orally and in writing and there are many opportunities for developing drama activities. Comparisons with the original and other versions of this traditional tale could lead to children developing their own settings and developing their own re-tellings.

As a huge ‘Claude’ fan, I am very pleased to be able to recommend this story too!