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Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff ARC {4 Stars}

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Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff is an adorable and whimsical retelling of the classic fairytale and has convinced me that I need to go back and read Shurtliff’s other retelling. I loved the combination of clever spins to the familiar fairytale and additions from other fairytales, along with a story about friendship, family, and dealing with death. Many of you know that I lost my grandmother last year, and this was honestly quite a cathartic read for me and I imagine it would be similarly useful for children who are grieving.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff ARC {4 Stars}

Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff
Published by Knopf on April 12th, 2016
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, MG
Page Length: 288 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
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Red is not afraid of the big bad wolf. She’s not afraid of anything . . . except magic.
But when Red’s granny falls ill, it seems that only magic can save her, and fearless Red is forced to confront her one weakness.

With the help of a blond, porridge-sampling nuisance called Goldie, Red goes on a quest to cure Granny. Her journey takes her through dwarves’ caverns to a haunted well and a beast’s castle. All the while, Red and Goldie are followed by a wolf and a huntsman—two mortal enemies who seek the girls’ help to defeat each other. And one of them just might have the magical solution Red is looking for. . . .

4 Stars


  • I was really close to my grandmother, so I absolutely loved seeing Red’s tight relationship with her Granny. Granny is spunky and no-nonsense as Red tries to learn magic, along with being a quite powerful witch.
  • The wolf obviously plays a major role in the original fairytale and also in Red, but with a clever twist. In the very beginning, it is revealed that Granny dresses up as a wolf to scare away annoying visitors sometimes, but there is also a wolf in the woods that is strangely interested in Red.
  • A number of different fairytales make appearances in this story. The main one is Goldielocks since she is Red’s sidekick. There are also cameos from Beauty and the Beast.
  • The magic in Red is pretty standard until you factor in the rhymes that get included for each of them. Red doesn’t just tell us about her spells, she actually gives us the words for them, and it is highly amusing to see what she intended versus how the spell actually comes out ;-).
  • I liked Red and Goldie’s friendship since it grows slowly due to Red’s prickly nature and teaches a few lessons about forgiveness and not underestimating other people.
  • Finally, a lot of this story is about Red’s struggle with the idea that her Granny will die eventually, possibly soon since she falls ill. There is a really great discussion about death, its inevitability, and how you keep the person with you even after they die. I found the discussion heart-warming and reassuring as I deal with my grandmother’s death, and I think this would be a great book for a child in a similar situation.


  • Goldie falls rather harshly into the ditzy blonde stereotype, and as a blonde, I get really annoyed with seeing that. She improves a bit, but gaaaaahhhhhh.
  • There are times when Red goes off on detours from the plot for reasons that don’t really make sense. It seemed like an excuse to see something cool in the world, but pointless for the actual plot.


Red is an excellent middle grade retelling for anyone who likes the story of Little Red Riding Hood or just enjoys a fun fantasy staring friends and family. It also surprisingly has a useful message about the death of loved ones and dealing with that eventuality that I think would be valuable to many younger readers.


As part of the blog tour, I have a giveaway for you all!

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Blog Tour

Check out all the other awesome blog tour stops for more about Liesel and Red!

Monday, February, 1: Bookiemoji, Author Guest Post

Tuesday, February, 2: Seeing Double In Neverland, Review

Wednesday, February, 3: MundieMoms/Kids, Review

Thursday, February, 4: BookHounds, Author Interview

Friday, February, 5: The Lovely Books, Review

Saturday, February, 6: I’m Shelf-ish, Guest Post

Sunday, February, 7:  Kid Lit Frenzy, Review

Monday, February, 8: Mel’s Shelves, Review

Tuesday, February, 9: Once Upon A Twilight, Author Random Facts

Wednesday, February, 10:, Review

Thursday, February, 11: Swoony Boys Podcast, Review

Friday, February, 12: Bittersweet Enchantment, Review

Saturday, February, 13: WinterHaven Books, Review except 18

Sunday, February, 14: The Cover Contessa, Review

Monday, February, 15: Pandora’s Books, Review

Tuesday, February, 16: On Starships and Dragonwings, Review

Wednesday, February, 17: As They Grow Up, Review

Thursday, February, 18: Owl Always Be Reading, Review

Friday, February, 19: Such a Novel Idea, Playlist and Review

Saturday, February, 20: The Children’s Book Review, A Selfie and a Shelfie

Sunday, February, 21: The Mod Podge Bookshelf, Author Movie Cast

Monday, February, 22: Katie’s Clean Book Collection, Review

Tuesday, February, 23: Words We Heart, Review

Wednesday, February, 24: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers, Author Guest Post

Thursday, February, 25: Confessions of a Readaholic, Review

Friday, February, 26: Bookish Antics, Review

Saturday, February, 27: Bumbles and Fairy-Tales, Review

Sunday, February, 28: Valerie’s Reviews, Review

Monday, February, 29: Lili’s Reflections, Review

Tuesday, March, 1: To Read, or Not To Read, Review

Wednesday, March 2: Stories & Sweeties, Review

Thursday, March 3: Cafinated Reads, Review

Friday, March 4: The Book Monsters, Review

Saturday, March 5: Twinning for Books, Review

Sunday, March 6: Curling Up With A Good Book, Review

Monday, March 7: The Compulsive Reader, Review

Tuesday, March 8: The Reading Nook Reviews, Review

Wednesday, March 9: Resch Reads and Reviews, Review

Thursday, March 10: Beauty and the Bookshelf, Review

Friday, March 11: Xpresso Reads, Review

Saturday, March 12: Diamond’s Reads, Review

Sunday, March 13: Blissful Book Reviews, Review

Monday, March 14: Vi3tbabe, Review

Tuesday, March 15: The Book Cellar, Review

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya


 Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff

© 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.

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