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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Red’s real name is Maureen, but she earned her nickname after a red sweater her Granny made for her that she always wore. Red and Granny are very close. When Granny calls for Red to visit, the little girl packs some freshly baked cookies and hikes through the woods to Granny’s house. She has to stop on the way to collect the cone flowers Granny wants to make tea. She’s not sure she’s found the right cone flowers, so she asks the wolf who offers his help. He finds some cone flowers for the girl, well, sort of. Would you trust a wolf to find the right flowers? It’s a delaying tactic so the wolf can reach Granny’s house first and be prepared to capture Red when she arrives. Sound a little like Little Red Riding Hood.
Lois Wickstrom’s picture book story, Little Red, the Detective: A Science Folktale (Science Folktales), is a clever rewrite of the well-known fairy tale. Adding some scientific information, such as the identification of certain plants, the story is part mystery, part fairy tale, and part educational. The plot follows Red’s journey through the woods, confronting the wolf, studying the flowers, and not being sure if she should trust the creature hiding under the covers on Granny’s bed, even though it says with conviction, “Of course, I’m your Granny. Who else would I be?” The unique twists and tangents will have young readers cheering on the protagonist. The colorful illustrations are sweet and help move the story forward. Overall, this is a fun read, a classic in its own right.