Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood

Age Range
Release Date
April 12, 2016
Buy This Book
"Red is the most wonder-filled fairy tale of them all!”—Chris Grabenstein, New York Times Bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library.

Red is not afraid of the big bad wolf. She’s not afraid of anything . . . except magic.
But when Red’s granny falls ill, it seems that only magic can save her, and fearless Red is forced to confront her one weakness.

With the help of a blond, porridge-sampling nuisance called Goldie, Red goes on a quest to cure Granny. Her journey takes her through dwarves’ caverns to a haunted well and a beast’s castle. All the while, Red and Goldie are followed by a wolf and a huntsman—two mortal enemies who seek the girls’ help to defeat each other. And one of them just might have the magical solution Red is looking for. . . .

Liesl Shurtliff weaves a spellbinding tale, shining the spotlight on a beloved character from her award-winning debut, Rump.

And don't miss Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk, "a delightful story of family, perseverance and courage" (Booklist).

Editor review

1 review
A magical experience
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
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Red grew up using magic…badly. Now, she stays far away from it and only watches her Granny perform the wonders. When Granny gets sick, magic may be the only thing that can save her life. Red begins a journey to face her fears, along with the help of a chatting girl called Goldie, a mysterious wolf, and a huntsman.

RED is a brilliant interweaving of fairy tales with a focus on Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and even a good portion of Beauty and the Beast and Snow White and Rose Red. The connections between some of the characters from different tales are genius. In particular, the twist on Beauty and the Beast is one I’ve never seen done before, but Shurtliff pulls it off seamlessly. The friendship between Red and Goldie is also unexpected (as those two tales are rarely put together), but they are a hilarious and sweet pair. Even if you haven’t read Shurtliff’s previous works, there’s an ease of sinking into this magical world that new and old readers alike will love.

One of the masterpieces of the story is the presentation of death. Death, especially in middle grade books, is a very heavy topic. Red is worried about her Granny’s health and the potential death there. However, while death is blatantly discussed among many characters, all offering a different perspective, it never feels overwhelming or depressing. It presents death as realistically as possible with sincere thought. It allows readers of any age to ponder on such a difficult subject in a safe, honest, and even practical fashion.

RED is a story of life, death, friendship, and fairy tale, and readers shouldn’t be surprised if they reach the end only to turn back to the first page for another magical experience.
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