Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff

51wa5tvta3lI received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My oldest daughter is almost nine years old, so I have recruited her to help me with the middle grade ARCs that I receive from Netgalley. She is a voracious reader, but she tends to gravitate towards comics and graphic novels rather than novels. Reading together gives her the opportunity to expand her repertoire, and I get some great feedback from the target demographic.

We just finished reading Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood. This is Liesl Shurtliff’s third novel featuring fairytale characters. Red’s grandmother is feeling ill, and a basket of goodies is not enough to restore her to good health. Red’s grandmother happens to be a witch, but she is too sick to prepare a potion for herself.   Red sets out to gather the ingredients for a restorative draught, but it proves to be a more difficult job than she anticipated. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a pesky girl named Goldie insists on tagging along, and Red can’t shake the feeling that they are being followed!

This story is full of excitement and adventure. Shurtliff introduces familiar characters from several fairytales, and places them in new situations. My daughter loved figuring out which story everyone came from. This is a beautifully written book that takes quite a philosophical attitude about mortality. Over the course of the story, Red learns about friendship and loyalty. Red learns to believe in herself, and to have confidence in her own abilities.

I would absolutely recommend Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood. This is a standalone book; you don’t have to read the other two books first.  There are some scary scenes; this book is best suited for middle grade readers, and younger readers might be frightened by some of the plot elements. My daughter enjoyed reading this book with me; she had already read Rump, and right away, she pointed out that Red appeared in Rump’s story.  We are both looking forward to reading more of Liesl Shurtliff’s books!

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