The followup to 2012’s The Three Ninja Pigs, Corey Rosen Schwartz and Dan Santat’s Ninja Red Riding Hood is a clever fractured fairy tale that will–if the first one is any indication–thoroughly charm young readers.
In the intervening years since The Three Ninja Pigs, the pigs have taught their martial arts skills to the other residents of the forest. That’s great news for them, but it’s made finding a meal a little difficult for the Big Bad Wolf. After missing out on one snack too many, the Wolf takes extreme measures: he sneaks into a martial arts class to become a ninja himself.
When he comes across Little Red Riding Hood on her way to her grandmother’s house, the Wolf thinks he’s ready to score himself a treat–but things don’t go exactly as he planned.
Kids tend to respond really well to fractured fairy tales–the familiar themes and characters hold their attention while the unexpected twists delight them. There’s been a proliferation of these types of stories in the past several years, and many of them are spectacular. Ninja Red Riding Hood is a solid entry in this genre.
Schwartz’s clever rhymes, which are almost–but not quite–limericks, have a nice flow, while Santat’s illustrations are real winners. Sections of the book take on elements of graphic novels, with speech bubbles and multiple frames on a page. Text and pictures come together to make a book that kids will love.
Review by Kate Sweeney
Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz; Penguin; c2014