Red: the true story of Red Riding Hood

Today’s book is actually the third book in a series by Liesel Shurtliff. The first book was Rump: the true story of Rumpelstiltskin.

I read this book back in the summer of 2013 – before I started at the school. I cannot begin to say how much I loved it. Rump is an orphan living on the Mountain in a Kingdom where names hold your destiny, but what kind of destiny can a name like Rump give you? Rump’s adventure through a fairytale land won’t be easy, but with help from his friend Red, he may find his true name and destiny. You thought you knew how this story goes, but you may be surprised at who the villains of this story are. 

Jack is like any other boy, except that he sees his father stolen by a giant. Jack isn’t going to sit and mope, he’s going to rescue his father, no matter what! Unfortunately, his little sister has tagged along for the adventure. We learn that for Jack, the land of the giants its the land where Rump comes from. Can ones so little change the world?

I’ve been waiting to read this book for quite awhile. It came out in March but I ran out of money to buy it at school. I’m lucky that the public library had a copy for me to borrow. I read it in one evening! We met Red in the first book, Rump, and her story picks back up after Rump has left the Mountain. In fact, everyone has left because the gold mines are empty. Red loves her granny more than anything and so when Granny gets sick, Red is willing to do anything to save her.

There were a lot of great fairytale references woven into the story. Granny, or the Witch of the Woods, has the given name Rose Red. Her sister, Snow White, married a prince enchanted into a bear years before. (This it’s not the same Snow White who lived centuries ago in the Kingdom.) As Red ventures out into the forest, she is followed by a wolf and an annoying blonde called Goldie–yeah, that Goldie. In this story we meet an enchanted beast, dwarves, and a huntsman. Red must make unlikely allies and defeat more than just a monster to fulfill her quest.

One of the best parts of this book was Red’s refusal to bend to a preordained destiny. I got a lot of great quotes from this book but here is my favorite:

I disliked the idea that I couldn’t determine my own future. I wanted to decide for myself how things would go for me…I was going to give destiny a good punch in the face.

Overall, Red, along with the reader, learn that facing our greatest fears will reveal our greatest power. Shurtliff wrote this book at the end of her own grandmother’s life, and her love is clearly evident in this wonderful story.

…I’d stay alive through others, and we’d never really go away. We’d just all grow together, like a forest, like the world, changing seasons and living on and on and on.

Shurtliff could easily continue this series, a there are no shortage of characters who need their true story told. I think Goldie should get her own book. Red’s personality reminded me of my older daughter and Goldie reminded me of my younger daughter. Their interactions were just perfect. The most unlikely people end up being the most important in our lives.


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