Monday, July 11, 2016

Little Red Riding Hood Illus by Zillah Lesko

I love vintage illustrations. That is not to say that I am not aware of how sickly sweet they are at times. But I still like them.  

This version of Little Red Riding Hood is about as sickly sweet as a story about a deceptive wolf trying to eat children can be. Bunnies, violets, and daisies. With squirrels and birds thrown in just in case you didn't get that this is a sweet book. 

(But I still like the bunnies and violets and daisies.)

Stately pines and kind-to-animals little Red Riding Hood.

Here is a closeup. Note the adoring glances the bunny and bluebird are giving her.

Her father is a woodcutter in a red gingham shirt and her mother wears a red polka dot hoop skirt to sweep the floor. 


But even when they are sickly sweet, mother/child hugs and kisses are still charming.

Little Red, trippin' along while the wild animals cavort for her express benefit.

A little girl picking flowers is completely exempt from accusations of sickly sweet. Picking flowers is important.

Then the nasty old wolf pops up. 

I have never understood why the wolf didn't just eat her here and now. There she is, all alone, why the fuss and bother of involving Grandma?

Maybe the wolf just enjoys complexity. 

In this version, the wolf doesn't do anything so coarse as eating grandma. He delicately hangs out in the door way while Granny exits stage left into the closet.

Wolfie takes center stage in a lovely cap, with rick-rack trim and coordinating satin bow. 

And here comes dear old Red Riding Hood. Right. Into. The. Trap! 

Clever old wolf really did it this time!

If you thought the wolf just wanted the privacy four walls would afford him as he did his dastardly deed of eating Red Riding Hood, you would be wrong. 

He indulges in a convoluted conversation with ole Red, trying to convince her that he is her Grandmother. 

Finally the wolf shows his true colors and leaps on the girl. Somehow, in the intervening three feet, there is time enough for woodcutters to come dashing to the rescue before Red Riding Hood is harmed in the least. 

Nary a scratch.

And the woodcutters send him scurrying with a smile on their faces.

And Granny and Little Red Riding Hood hug each other and discuss their narrow escape from the least straight forward wolf either of them would ever encounter in their storybook lives.

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