Little Red Cap

The original Brothers Grimm's ‘Little Red Cap’ (the one where stones are put in the wolf’s belly), or ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ as it is better known in English, is published here in Neugebauer’s delightful ‘mini-minedition’ series. These are small books retelling traditional stories, beautifully formed, and despite their size, just bursting with visual goodies.

One of the lead illustrators for the series is Czech illustrator, Kvĕta Pascovská, who in 1992 received IBBY’s Hans Christian Andersen Medal for Illustration. Here, Pascovská, splendidly brings a different visual dimension to a well-known and well-visualised tale. European avant-garde artists can be counted among her influences, and her interpretation of Little Red Cap references Joan Miró and Wassily Kandinsky right from the opening endpapers where we see a stylised but recognisable wolf, cuboid, against a dramatic red background. His high-heel boots are not quite adequate for his wolverine feet which peep through. But Little Red Cap has high heel boots too, and it is one of these, standing alone on the closing endpapers, that show her triumph over her predator. In between, the wolf’s menace is conveyed in abstract sharp lines bursting over the page, mirroring his jagged teeth; Little Red Cap is shown in faux-naïf lines blocked in with red, and shapes filled with Miróesque colours lead us through the mounting drama.

While not the best introduction to the tale for three or four-year olds, this lovely book will instead be appreciated by illustrators, art students and teachers as well as anyone who wants a treat.