Kimmel Turns up the Heat

I’ll admit, “Little Red Riding Hood” has never been a favorite of mine. But leave it to the fabulous storyteller Eric Kimmel to inject some spicy fun into the creepy old tale. Little Red Hot by Eric A. Kimmel

Set in Texas, Little Red Hot features a sassy girl dressed all over in fiery red, who just loves anything and everything made with chili peppers: “She ate peppers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She ate pepper ice cream for dessert. She had hot pepper cake for her birthday … .”

When Little Red Hot hears her grandma’s not feeling well, she decides to bake a hot pepper pie, just the thing to “knock those cold germs right out of her.” Readers can’t help but laugh when they hear how she goes about preparing that pie, with four kinds of ferocious peppers, along with Louisiana Hot Sauce. Why, “that pie was so hot, it baked itself.” And if the description of that concoction doesn’t kick up laughs, Laura Huliska-Beith’s lively illustrations (this one displays the word “WARNING” in capital red letters) surely will.

Little Red Hot sets off on her pony and meets Pecos Bill, who warns her Senor Lobo, otherwise known as the Big Bad Wolf, is on the prowl.

All too soon, she sees a toothy gray creature running toward her. Aiming to calm her worries, the wolf claims he’s merely harmless old Senor Coyote. Foolishly, she tells him where she’s going.

Just as you would expect, he reaches Grandma’s house before she does. When Little Red Hot arrives, she cuts Grandma a big piece of pepper pie and remarks on Grandma’s big eyes and big ears and big teeth. Then, she shoves that slice of pie in his mouth, and … let’s just say he never bothered Little Red Hot again.

Kimmel’s energetic retelling — complemented by red-hot paintings rendered in gouache, acrylic, and colored pencils — provides fine fare for a rowdy read-aloud for ages 5 to 7.

See also …

Lon Po Po by Ed YoungPretty Salma A Little Red Riding Hood Story from Africa by Niki Daly


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joy Chu
    Jun 07, 2013 @ 13:51:38

    My own students are often flabbergasted at the infinite number of approaches one can apply to RedRidingHood. A fabulous way to examine the effect of each artist’s medium, POV, and unique style!


    • Janice Floyd Durante
      Jun 07, 2013 @ 14:18:09

      Yes, Joy, it’s wonderful to expose children to a variety of versions of folktales. In addition to the important elements you mention, each one also reveals fascinating aspects of a culture’s values, history, environment, etc. Bravo for sharing these stories with them!


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