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Cloaked in Red
Ages: 12 and up
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Book Description:

Presents eight twists on the traditional tale of Little Red Riding Hood, exploring such issues as why most characters seem dim-witted and what, exactly, is the theme.

This book is currently a finalist for:

  • The Crystal Kite Award (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators--New York division)
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Where do you GET those ideas?
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Where do you GET those ideas?

One answer to this can be found in the excerpt which follows, which explains why I consider "Little Red Riding Hood" to be a monumentally mixed-up fairy tale.

Now, admittedly, I find quite a few fairy tales mixed up, which was why I wrote Tales from the Brothers Grimm and the Sisters Weird, which includes a Little Red story, "The Granddaughter,"  where Granny and the wolf are best of friends.  I had so much fun with that, I wrote another Little Red story, exploring another of the questions the story brings up for me.  But that second story sat around for years, because I didn't know what to do with it.

In the meantime, I wrote a whole series of Rumpelstiltkin stories ("Rumpelstiltskin" is my candidate for the most mixed-up fairy tale, ever) and put them together in The Rumpelstiltskin Problem.

So I started thinking, 'I already have 2 Little Red stories.  That's a significant chunk of a book done already.  All I need to do is write six more stories, and I'll have a book, with a quarter of the work done already.'  So that's what I did.


As it turned out, my editor, Margery Cuyler, said yes to the 6 new stories, but no to the two that were already written.  So I ended up writing 8 original stories for Cloaked in Red after all.

So much for getting off easy!



Everyone knows the story of Little Red Riding Hood, the girl with the unfortunate name and the inability to tell the difference between her grandmother and a member of a different species.

The question is: Why do we all know it?

If you look at "Little Red Riding Hood," it's a perfect example of the exact opposite of a good story.

There are different versions, but they all start with a mother who sends her daughter into the woods, where there is not only a wolf, but a talking, cross-dressing wolf. We are never told Little Red Riding Hood's age, but her actions clearly show that she is much too young, or too dimwitted, to be allowed out of the house alone.

But apparently Little Red's mom hasn't noticed this.

When I was a little girl, my mother was nervous about my crossing the street without adult supervision. But fairy-tale characters do not make good role models. Goldilocks' parents not only let let her play in the bear-infested woods, they neglect to give her that most basic advice: "Don't break into strangers' homes."

There are other examples of irresponsible adults in fairy tales. The miller in "Rumpelstiltskin" hands his daughter over to a king whose royal motto is "Spin straw into gold or die." And Rapunzel's mom and dad trade her to a witch for a garden salad.

We won't even get into the issue of stepmothers.


  • To hear me read this introduction to Cloaked in Red, click here.

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"a.k.a. Hood," the story that didn't make it into Cloaked in Red, was available through iPulp.


But unfortunately iPulp ("Where the short story lives") no longer exists.


with the cast of Drama Kids International of Rochester, at a rehearsal for "Granny and the Wolf" at the Penfield, NY library.


With a whole new cast, another DKI production, this one presented at St. John Fisher. 



VVV as Little Red--luckily, no wolf in sight


Lucy the cat as perhaps-not-the-happiest Little Red Riding Hood


Cloaked in Red charm bracelet made by my very clever daughter. Visit her Sparkly Something website.


Little Rat Riding Hood--because... why not?