Thursday, 1 May 2014

Review: Grimmtastic Girls #2: Little Red Riding Hood Gets Lost by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams

Grimmtastic Girls #2: Little Red Riding Hood Gets Lost is the second book in the Grimmtastic Girls series from Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams. This new middle grade series was published by Scholastic in April 2014.

Summary: Once upon a time, in faraway Grimmlandia... Red Riding Hood is thrilled to try out for the school play. Acting is her dream, and she's great at it — too bad she has stage fright! After a grimmiserable audition, Red decides to focus on helping her friends save Grimm Academy from the E.V.I.L. Society. But when Red gets lost in Neverwood forest and runs into Prince Wolfgang, who might be part of E.V.I.L., she'll need her magical basket and a grimmazingly dramatic performance to figure out what's going on!

Cinderella is the narrator of book one, but it's Red (Little Red Riding Hood) who narrates the sequel. The reader is given enough back story so that anyone can easily step into this series. The plot moves quickly and is full of humour, fairy tale fun, a little mystery, and a lot of relatable social issues that readers can identify with. Red Riding Hood Gets Lost explores mild anxiety, irrational fears about embarrassing yourself or about losing the respect of others, and learning to be yourself.

Along with the social issues and school drama, the book hints at a coming showdown of good vs. evil. While every book appears to be about a different character and a different problem, the series is tied together by the E.V.I.L. society's plan to purge all of Grimmlandia into darkness. Not only will young readers love relating to their favourite fairy tale character, but an epic crossover battle of villains vs. heroes is coming! And after the success of ABC's Once Upon a Time, you know that there's promise in seeing a clash of fairy tale characters.

The books read for the targeted age range of 8-12, though the "cutesy" covers make the books seem like they're aimed at a younger audience. I appreciate the fact that both books in the series feature fairy tale characters of different ethnicities. But more than a series that celebrates diversity, I appreciate the educational value. These books often refer to the original authors of fairy tales and folklore, and there is certainly educational value in comparing and contrasting the many versions of the fairy tales.

The Grimmtastic Girls series is a fantastic addition to home, school, and public libraries. The books are fun, charming, and are sure to be loved by all little girl readers who love princesses, magic, and happily-ever-afters!

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