Artell, Mike. Petite Rouge A Cajun Red Riding Hood. Illustrated by Jim Harris. New York: Puffin Books, c2001.
There have been many, many takes on all fairytales and this one is a version of Little Red Riding Hood, but Cajun style. What makes this a “Cajun” style version of little red riding hood is not just in the illustrations. The actual text and dialect is written to represent native Cajuns from down in the “baya” (bayou). The traditional form of this story is not told in rhyme, but this one is which makes it more fun to read. There are several words mentioned in the story that are common to the bayou, but not everywhere else; So, the author has given a glossary. The illustrations give the listener a chance to see what the story goes on about. Some of the above mentioned vocabulary words may be distinguished by looking at the illustrations. In the story all of the character’s are animals and their proportions are much larger than in actual life. They’ve also been given human like facial features which adds a flare to the story. The illustrations are done in natural color tones, meaning that they don’t have big bright colors. Instead of using color to show shade like many children illustrator’s do, Jim Harris uses black to show shades or contrasting outlines in black. Some of the pages go over two pages (double page spread), some are on single pages. Some pages incorporate white space into the page, some use the entire page to create the scene. This book is really a fun read and gives perspective into the southern New Orleans bayou culture.
Note from Jade:
I am from New Orleans, and we have a lot of books that are remade to fit our culture. We don’t all speak like the Swamp People. Actually most of us don’t. You get those accents closer towards the coast. We share the whole culture though. I wanted to review this for you all to encourage you to read books that are set in cultures outside of your own. You will find I enjoy multicultural books and as time goes on you will see a variety of them reviewed from me. If you happen to buy or rent this book as a recommendation from me, and you and your child(ren) enjoy it, then please check out a local publishing company called Penguin publishing. They are now a national publication company, but carried most of our cultural books. There are many many books that represent New Orleans and if you would like a suggestion for children’s books or even adult novels or nonfiction that is centered around my city, please comment or email me. xoxo