I’m a sucker for fairy tale retellings, from Cinderella to LGBTQ and gender-flipped iterations. What can I say? As far as I’m concerned, there are never enough. As long as there are writers and storytellers there will be creative new takes on the classic stories passed down through the generations. One of those stories that is told time and time again is the story of Little Red Riding Hood. A girl on her way to take some goodies to her sick grandmother is told not to stray from the path…but when she meets a wolf on the way, she doesn’t do as she was told. The wolf eats her grandmother and takes on her form to try to trick Red. But what if it didn’t have to go that way?
In these Little Red Riding Hood retellings we get to see how the story might’ve played out differently. In some the wolf takes the place of Little Red, in others she becomes the hunter instead of the hunted. Some are set in the 21st century while others sweep us away into a timeless fairy tale world. But in all cases these unique takes are ready to keep an age old story thriving even into modern day.
Picture Books for Young Readers
Very Little Red Riding Hood by Teraesa Heapy & Sue Heap
Little Red Riding Hood is very little and very excited to visit her grandmother for a sleepover. She’s packed her tea set, her blanket, and all the tea and cakes a toddler could ever want. And no wolf is going to get in her way! Join Very Little Red Riding Hood for a very big adventure.
Violet and the Woof by Rebecca Grabill, illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova
Instead of the woods, Violet and her little brother must traverse the long halls of their apartment building in order to bring soup to a sick neighbor. Their real and imagined adventures along the way make for a charming ride — especially when their sick neighbor turns out to look very much like a wolf.
Lon Po Po by Ed Young
In this Chinese fairy tale that draws comparisons to Little Red Riding Hood, a mother of three daughters must leave her children alone while going to visit their granny. She warns them to keep the door locked tight, but when a voice claiming to be their Po Po, their grandmother, comes knocking on the door, they have no choice but to let her in. Except her voice is awfully low and her face is awfully hairy. And that’s because it’s not their grandmother…it’s Granny Wolf.
Hamra and the Jungle of Memories by Hanna Alkaf (March 28, 2023)
When Hamra forgets one of the most important rules of the jungle — don’t take anything without permission — she finds herself hunted by a weretiger who will only forgive her debt if she helps him regain his humanity. It’s a gorgeous Malaysian retelling of the original full of fantasy and folklore and adventure.
Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff
Red isn’t afraid of anything — except magic. But when her granny grows sick, it seems that magic might be the only thing that can save her. Along with a porridge-obsessed girl named Goldie, Red sets out on a journey that will take her through dwarven caverns and beast’s castles in order to find a cure for her grandmother. But it’s the wolf and the woodsman following the girls and seeking their help to defeat one and other that might possess the very magical solution Red is looking for.
The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais
This dark retelling flips the script by casting a young wolf as Little Red. The Little Red Wolf is on a journey to bring his grandmother a rabbit, but when he crosses path’s with a young human girl who offers to help, it seems like a harmless situation. But the little wolf has been warned about humans. And though the girl seems nice, nice is not the same as good.
The ending is quite dark, so make sure this one is going to be appropriate for the young readers in your life before recommending it.
For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten
This book that blends Little Red Riding Hood with Beauty and the Beast follows the second daughter born to the queen and destined to be sacrificed to the wolf. As the first second daughter born in centuries, it is hoped that Red’s sacrifice to the Wolf in the Woods will mean the return of the gods. But it turns out the wolf is a man, and the magical abilities she has always viewed as a curse are actually a gift that could help save the Wilderwood.
Red Wolf by Rachel Vincent
Like everyone raised in Oakvale, Adele has been taught to avoid the dark woods that surround the village. Lightless and full of monsters, no one ventures into the woods unless absolutely necessary. But unlike others, Adele has good reason to venture into the woods. She is a guardian. She comes from a long line of women who are able to shift into wolves to protect the people of their village. But following her calling means abandoning the one she loves and living a life of secrecy. Faced with a future very different from the one she imagined for herself, Adele will have to decide just how far she’s willing to go to protect the people of Oakvale.
How to Be Eaten by Maria Adelmann
This retelling set in present day New York features classic fairy tale characters reimagined as women in a trauma support group. These characters include the winner of a reality show who didn’t quite get her fairy tale ending, the former lover of a blue-bearded billionaire psychopath, a woman devoured by a wolf who now wears him as a coat and others reckon with differences — and their similarities — as they hear each others stories only to realize they have more in common than any of them could’ve suspected.
Burning Roses by S.L. Huang
What if it was Red Riding Hood who hunted the wolf? Many years ago, Rosa made bad choices. And now she’s paying for them. Alongside Hou Yi the Archer, Rosa attempts to make up for the sins of her past by stopping the deadly sunbirds from razing the countryside. But both are haunted by hindsight and the consequences of the choices they’ve made are still catching up with them, even today. And when Hou Yi’s past comes calling, Rosa will have to reckon with the reasons she left her own homeland so many years ago — and why she can never go back.
And Little Red Riding Hood retellings aren’t the only ones we like to talk about here at Book Riot. Let’s keep feeding this fairy tale retelling obsession, shall we?