Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The book that made my head explode twice in one day

It's been awhile since I fawned over the sheer beauty of a book. Then yesterday I found this book at the library:

I stood there in the middle of the children's area—with toddlers and moms milling around me—oohing and aahing, and maybe drooling, over Sybille Schenker's Little Red Riding Hood. The paper quality.  The velvety ink.  The red stitched binding. Those exquisite cut-outs. The use of line, color and pattern. I couldn't get enough. My mind exploded with goodness.

Of course it came home with me.

Eventually, after more swooning and caressing, I sat down and read the text.

Then my mind exploded again.

I was all, "WHAT?! The wolf eats the grandmother?"
And, "What?! He eats Little Red Cap too?!"
And, "What?! The woodsman cuts open the wolf and they are alive inside?!"

I admit my childhood was sheltered.

But still.

How did I get to adulthood without knowing this story?

All I remember is the "my what big ears and eyes and teeth you have" part. Maybe I blocked out all the rest. My empathy dial has always been turned up unbearably high. We have an audio cassette of my parents amusing themselves by asking two-year-old me, "Want to read Hansel and Gretel?" Which sends me into a predictable toddler panic. "No, no! I'll cry really hard. They throw POTATOES at them!"

I think I've avoided fairy tales ever since.

But Sybille Schenker reeled me back in yesterday.

My Kindergartner found Little Red Riding Hood on the kitchen table after school.

"I know this story," he said.

"You do?!" Obviously not from me, I'm thinking.

"Yeah, it's on my reading app at school. The wolf eats the grandma, then he eats the girl.  Then the hunter cuts open the wolf and saves them."


Anyway, enough about my egregious literary gaps. I think I may need to own this one. If I'm feeling brave, perhaps I'll order Hansel and Gretel too.