Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion

by Alex T Smith (Author)

Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Little Red is on her way to visit Auntie Rosie with a basket of goodies and some spot medicine. Along the way she meets the Very Hungry Lion. The Lion is eager to gobble up Little Red. The Lion's plan doesn't work out the way he wanted.

Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion is a fractured fairy tale version of Little Red Riding Hood. It's a classic fairy tale with a safari twist!

Alex T. Smith's fun, bold art brings Little Red Riding Hood to life in a refreshing new way that will delight young readers.

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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
Great storytelling braided with lively color and a culturally affirming accent makes this book a real standout.

Publishers Weekly

In a freewheeling reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood, Smith (the Claude series) transplants the story to a contemporary setting in an unspecified African nation and introduces Little Red, a spindly-limbed girl who's more than a match for the lion standing in for the tale's traditional wolf. When Little Red's Auntie Rosie breaks out with spots all over her skin, Little Red leaps to deliver the needed "spot medicine." Her journey is far more fun than that of her predecessor ("Little Red walked under the giraffes, over the sleepy crocodiles, and past the chattering monkeys"), eventually meeting the lion, who devises a five-step plan for eating Little Red and Auntie Rosie. Smith's narration is perfectly pitched to be read aloud ("This had not been part of the Lion's plan," he writes after Little Red twists his unruly mane into 20+ braids with a bow capping each one), and the vibrantly colored and playfully detailed illustrations are just as entertaining. It's a spry and very funny retelling with a heroine whose savvy and take-charge attitude carry the day. Ages 3-5. Agency: Arena Illustration. (July)

Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

K-Gr 2 This retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" set in Africa recasts the wolf as a lion. Little Red's Auntie has broken out in "spots" and asks Little Red to bring her medication. This necessitates a long journey through the jungle. Lion stalks Little Red and develops a plan to eat her and Auntie. Little Red is too smart for Lion and distracts him with delays like grooming his mane into braids. When Lion's ruse is spoiled, Little Red tells him that if he was hungry, "all you had to do was ask for some food." Auntie's spots are healed, Lion's behavior is changed by Little Red's generosity, and all is well. Smith's adaptation is sadly uneven. Average writing accompanies above-average illustrations in a riotously colorful cartoon style. However, the page layout renders the story very choppy, making it ill-suited for reading aloud. Additionally, the cultural representation is half-hearted and awkward. The illustrations depict a wide variety of African animals, but other than Little Red and her family being black, nothing about the story line is particularly "African" other than the lion. Auntie's "spots" and her need for "spot cream" are also nonspecific, and Little Red improbably brings her a snack of doughnuts. VERDICT Niki Daly's Pretty Salma more successfully gives a classic tale an African spin, rendering this one a strictly additional purchase with limited appeal.-Jessica Bushore, Xenia, OH

Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Alex T Smith
After briefly considering careers in space travel, cookery, and being a rabbit, Alex T. Smith finally decided to become an illustrator. He earned a first class honors degree in illustration and went on to create the award-winning Claude series which has been developed as an animated TV show. When he isn't doodling in his sketchbook, Alex can be found people-watching and eavesdropping. He lives in England with two very tiny and naughty dogs. Follow Alex on Twitter @alex_t_smith and visit him on the web at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Scholastic Press
Publication date
July 20, 2016
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV012040 - Juvenile Fiction | Fairy Tales & Folklore | Adaptations
Library of Congress categories
Humorous stories
Little Red Riding Hood (Tale)

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