"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lon Po Po and Auntie Tiger: Chinese Red Riding Hood Tales

Lon Po Po: a Red-Riding Hood Story From China by Ed Young, 1989.

This Red Riding Hood tale is about three little sisters, Shang, Tao and Paotze, who are left alone for the day when their mother goes to visit their grandmother. Of course, it is then that the wolf comes to call. Although the girls are gullible enough to let him in when he claims to be their grandmother, Shang, the oldest, is clever enough to lure him out of the house and the three have what it takes to defeat him.

Ed Young won the 1990 Caldecott Medal for Lon Po Po's art. This wolf is a scary one, with flashing eyes and gaping jaws.

Auntie Tiger by Laurence Yep, Illus. by Insu Yee, 2009.

The Big, Bad Wolf is a Huge, Horrible Tiger in this version of the tale. Mother has to go into town to get food, so she must leave quarreling Big Sister and Little Sister alone. When their "darling Auntie" shows up, the elder sister is sceptical, but the young one is most interested in the treats that "she" brings, and opens the door. The tricky cat has disguised his most tigerish parts, and he eventually swallows Little Sister whole. Fortunately, he has met his match in Big Sister, who dispatches him and rescues her sibling. Mother returns home to find her daughters working together happily, having learned a lesson from the fiendish feline.

Insu Lee's tiger is more comical than frightening, although his claws and teeth cannot be overlooked. Decked out in a purple tunic and flowered headscarf he is hardly convincing, yet he certainly looks optimistic about his plan. Lee plays with form and texture as he brings the girls' home setting to life as a bulbous tree trunk houses an alarmed chipmunk, jagged and wavy foliage conceals the eager tiger and Big Sister takes shelter in a tree bursting with heart shaped leaves and trumpet flowers.

No comments: