“Lose yourself in in the dark forests of Amélie Fléchais’ spectacular artwork. A young wolf, on a journey to bring his grandmother a rabbit, is charmed by the nice little girl who offers to help him… but nice is not the same as good. A haunting fairy tale for children and adults alike.”
Thanks given to Netgalley and Lion Forge for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The Little Red Wolf is a graphic novel putting a new spin on the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale, translated into English from French. I picked this up for review largely because of the stunning cover art, but also because I can’t resist a good fairytale.
This retelling is all about perspective. It flips the roles of humans and wolves from the original, and so we follow a young wolf in a red cloak sent into the forest to delivery a rabbit to his grandmother. The plot unfolds at a steady pace and differs from the original tale enough to keep things interesting. It’s pleasantly dark, too. Part of the power of fairytales is that they are universal, working for both adults and children, but I do think The Little Red Wolf skews more toward adults than children. The human storyline carries a caution against the consequences of fear and intolerance, and perhaps against cyclical violence, but I’m not sure if younger readers will find this or the resultant ending satisfying. This all ties into the fact that the first half of the narrative works well, but the second half falls down somewhat in comparison as the story goes its own way.
But, unsurprisingly, the strength of this graphic novel lies in the artwork. Each page is lovingly rendered, with enough detail and deceptive intricacy to invite multiple readings. The style has a certain rustic charm which might not be to everyone’s taste, but I enjoyed it and thought that it suited the fairytale narrative beautifully.
The Little Red Wolf is a charmingly illustrated fairytale retelling, with enough dark and gruesome story matter keep it interesting. I’m not sure this will work so well for younger readers, and I think the ending fails to completely satisfy, but I still consider it an hour well-spent.