Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Betsy Red Hoodie

Betsy Red Hoodie

Gail Carson Levine
Illustrator:  Scott Nash 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 8
HarperCollins, 2010   ISBN: 978-0061468704

One morning Betsy’s mother asks Betsy to take come cupcakes to Betsy’s grandmother’s house. Betsy is one of the shepherds in Bray Valley, and it is her responsibility to take care of the sheep. Not wanting to leave the sheep all alone, Betsy decides takes the sheep with her. Zimmo, the other shepherd in the valley, wants to go with Betsy. At first, Betsy is reluctant to allow it. After all, Zimmo is a wolf, and everyone knows that wolves and grandmothers do not mix. However, Betsy then decides that Zimmo can join the party because he has always been a most trustworthy wolf.

Twice along the way to Grandma’s house Betsy is warned that it is not a good idea to take Zimmo along, but Betsy doesn’t change her mind. Then Zimmo runs off and leaves Betsy with all the sheep to care for. Betsy is terrified that Zimmo might be giving in to his wolfish side at Grandmother’s house, but she cannot abandon the sheep who are in her care.

In this amusing and entertaining take on the Little Red Riding Hood story, we meet a little girl who has courage, a secretive wolf, and a herd of chatty and not terribly bright (but rather funny) sheep. Readers who think they know what is going to happen in the end are sure to be surprised when they discover that all is not what it seems.

For this book, Scott Nash’s delightful illustrations are presented in very unique way. There are full-page illustrations, divided panes, and spreads where all the characters have speech bubbles floating above their heads.  You never quite know what is going to come next.