In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Role play

Dear Aunt Debbie,

We are just getting into all the deep imaginative play at our house, and I'm looking forward to the ways in which Eleanor and Isabel will create worlds together.  Right now, we're gearing up for a costumed role play: Eleanor's friend is having a fairy tale costume birthday party next weekend.  I kind of expected Eleanor would go for a princess costume, but she's decided that we're all going as the characters from Little Red Riding Hood instead.  (She's Little Red, of course; I'm Grandma; Jeff and Isabel have both been cast as wolves.)

This current fascination owes a lot, I'm sure, to the gorgeous Trina Schart Hyman
Little Red Riding Hood
we recently bought.  We've both written before (here and here) about Hyman's lush illustrations, and this book is no exception.  There is such affection between the mother and Little Red, with their wisps of hair flying free of their bonnets.  Her older people -- the grandmother, the woodcutter -- look realistically tired.  Hyman often frames her pictures with wooden looking curlicues, turning the pages into Joseph Cornell-like boxes.  It makes the story feel old-fashioned, and also I think pleasingly contained -- this wolf is scary, certainly, but he's not about to leap off the page and attack you.

I'm taking a page from Playing By the Book's Zoey and trying to sew up a red riding hood out of a long red skirt.  Will let you know how that goes.

Love, Annie


  1. Wow, as soon as I looked at the cover I thought, "Hey, I wonder if that's who did the cover for my copy of Ronia the Robber's Daughter," and I looked it up, and it was. That's a pretty distinctive style.

    I should show that book to my fourth grader. It should be right up his alley.

  2. I love Ronia the Robber's Daughter too -- that's another one I'm ready to reread.