Book Summary: After three girls' mother goes to visit their sickly grandmother, a wolf disguises itself as their grandmother--Po Po--in order to sneak in and eat them. But the girls are a bit too crafty for the wolf.
APA Reference: Young, E. (1989). Lon Po Po. New York: Penguin Putnam.
Impressions: In this Chinese retelling of Little Red-Riding Hood, there is a unique twist on the tale where rather than one girl who meets a stranger (wolf) in the woods on the way to grandma's house, we have three girls who are left home alone and must deal with a home invasion. It's a familiar tale story-wise that is altered just enough to warrant a new retelling, particularly with the craftiness of the girls. But as this is also a Caldecott winner, so the true star of the story is the artwork. With gorgeous water color art fit within a graphic novel panel styling, this is one memorably visual book.
Professional Review: Grade 1-5-- A gripping variation on Red Riding Hood that involves three little sisters who outsmart the wolf ( lon or long in Cantonese) who has gained entry to their home under the false pretense of being their maternal grandmother ( Po Po ). The clever animal blows out the candle before the children can see him , and is actually in bed with them when they start asking the traditional "Why, Grandma!" questions. The eldest realizes the truth and tricks the wolf into letting them go outside to pick gingko nuts , and then lures him to his doom. The text possesses that matter-of-fact veracity that characterizes the best fairy tales. The watercolor and pastel pictures are remarkable: mystically beautiful in their depiction of the Chinese countryside, menacing in the exchanges with the wolf, and positively chilling in the scenes inside the house. Overall, this is an outstanding achievement that will be pored over again and again.
Philbrook, J. (1989). Lon Po Po (Book). [Review of the book Lon Po Po, by Ed Young]. School Library Journal, 35(16), 97.
Library Uses: Used to discuss fairy tales and/or interpretations around the world.