Friday, November 12, 2010

Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde

Cloaked in Red
I adore one of Vivian Vande Velde’s earlier books, Heir Apparent, and so I tend to buy copies of her work that I really, really mean to get around to reading someday. I’ve enjoyed Being Dead, and I hope that late next year I can schedule in reading The Book of Mordred.
Cloaked in Red (Marshall Cavendish) came in under tough competition: I recently heard Terri Windling discuss the history of the tale in great detail, and perhaps that’s why I was expecting something more subversive. In eight (often humorous) short stories, Cloaked in Red reimagines Little Red Riding Hood from the point of view of the wolf, a bumbling woodcutter, and the grandmother, and others; it paints Little Red as far less than perfect in several of the versions. While I am (happily) no longer attuned so much to what kids of various ages “should” or “shouldn’t” read about, I felt that the stories could have been much meatier and provided more to gnaw on. On the other hand, the collection isn’t too scary to hand to a younger reader. 
I read this book as a first-round judge for the Cybils Awards, which means that I may have received a review copy from the publisher (or not; I own a lot of the books in this category). I read some books nominated for the YA fantasy and science fiction category in 2010 before the nomination period, and may have already reviewed them or declined to make a public review; these books might not have a Cybils post tag. As a first-round judge, I was tasked with helping create a shortlist of books. My personal reviews do not reflect any actions or discussions of the judging committee. 

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