A Classic Revisited: Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China

Young, Ed. Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China. Philomel Library Edition, 1989. 32 pages.  ISBN-13: 978-0-698-11382-4

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What’s the story?

Three little girls are left alone at home when an old woman comes by claiming to be their grandmother. She doesn’t look like their beloved Po Po. The three little girls have to find ways to outsmart this wolf.

Review 

This version of the familiar tale of the little girl dressed in red who visits her grandmother in the woods has many interesting variations to the beloved story. Instead of one girl, there is a trio of sisters who are at home when the wolf comes to visit disguised as an old woman and claims to be the girls’ grandmother or “Po Po” and asks to be let into the house. Like the more familiar Little Red Riding Hood, these girls are not fooled by the hairy deep voiced woof. The illustrations are a mixture of watercolors and pastel with the techniques of Chinese panel art. This version offers the standard warnings about strangers and using one’s intelligence and powers of observation to recognize danger, but it also adds the element of working together and relying on your familiar to help you to avoid harm. This is a perfect book for children who love the Little Red Riding Hood story and is an excellent way to make them aware of other cultures who share their familiar stories.

Other Awards and Recognition

Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards 1990
Caldecott Medal 1990

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