Review of Telling Stories Wrong

Telling Stories WrongTelling Stories Wrong
by Gianni Rodari; illus. by Beatrice Alemagna; trans. from Italian by Antony Shugaar
Primary    Enchanted Lion    40 pp.    g
6/22    978-1-59270-360-9    $17.95

“Once upon a time, there was a girl who was called Little Yellow Riding Hood.” “No, red!” “…Her mother said: Now go to Aunt Hildegard’s house and take her this potato peel.” “No, it’s: Go to your grandmother’s house and bring her this warm loaf of bread.” Here is a humorous story of a grandfather retelling “Little Red Riding Hood” to his granddaughter, and telling it hilariously wrong. The child keeps correcting him, but it doesn’t seem to get him back on track. And why bother? Anyone who reads this book will see that the heart of storytelling with children is not the accurate retelling of plot but rather the connection and creative interaction between adult and child. Alemagna’s (Never, Not Ever!, rev. 9/21) well-composed and multilayered mixed-media illustrations cleverly support the transition between the two speakers, as the narrative is related solely through dialogue; thought bubbles amusingly show the very different stories unfolding in each of the character’s heads. Young readers already familiar with “Little Red Riding Hood” may enjoy this story most, but it will be great fun for all, nonetheless.

From the May/June 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Weileen Wang
You-Ling (Weileen) Wang loves to write, read, and illustrate. She attended Vanderbilt University, where she studied child development and fell in love with children's literature. She holds a master's degree in arts in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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