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Reviewed by Lois J Wickstrom for Readers' Favorite
What would happen if Little Red Riding Hood lived in Louisiana instead of at the edge of the deep dark woods? What would happen if she met a wily crocodile instead of the devious big bad wolf? That’s what happens in this relocated fairytale by Suzan Johnson, charmingly illustrated by Ayessa C. The author clearly loves fairy and folk tales. Little Red and the Crocodile: Fractured Fairytale is the first in a planned series of re-imagined classics. The characters eat Louisiana specialties like peanut patties and homemade pralines, but Little Red is as heedless of her mother’s advice as ever, and this crocodile is just as sneaky and conniving as the wolf.
Suzan Johnson’s version of Little Red Riding Hood has many interesting new characters. There’s Mr. Leon, the flower seller, who gives Little Red free samples. There’s Little Red’s best friend Jessie, who gave her the famous red coat. There’s Mr. Randy, the park ranger and crocodile wrestler, instead of the woodsman. And Auntie Moshee instead of Grandma. She lives in the middle of the swamp instead of deep in the dark woods. Little Red has a name, too. She’s Zara. We even learn about that strange feeling of being “swallowed whole.” The illustrations capture both Little Red’s happy spirit and the crocodile’s sneakiness. I particularly liked the illustration of Cory, the crocodile, with Auntie Moshee and Zara kicking inside him as they try to escape. And I liked that Ranger Randy has a different idea of what to do with the crocodile at the end...