Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Favorite Children's Book

From time to time I have shared excerpts from a favorite children's book with you. Here is one by possibly my favorite illustrator Trina Schart Hyman (1939-2004). While one of the most beloved and classic tales of childhood, in her hands "Little Red Riding Hood" becomes both the quintessential retelling and a beautifully layered and carefully crafted story rich with psychological complexity to delight both children and adults alike. Her attention to the most minute details of setting fascinate. And her tender and insightful portrayal of the character's countenances bring a level depth to the story that imprints it upon your thoughts in a nearly haunting way. So intriguing are the images and so cohesive, they not only stand alone as impressive works of art, she also uses them to tell a sub-plot all her own. Hint: watch the cats!
 The first main illustration shows our heroine sitting on a bench and reading a copy of this book!--delightful joke. And here you see the cats. Which one's the Tom? Bet you can guess!

 The commission to go to grandma's and not dawdle. What is she thinking? A little child alone in the woods...a nervous pinky?

 Hey, who's that watching out for Little Red Riding Hood?

 Look at this!--Dogtooth Lily, Pink Trillium, Wood Phlox, and Queen Anne's Lace--no wonder the wolf could convince her to pick a bouquet!

 From the shelf fungus to the ground squirrel--a feast for the eyes!

 Isn't the wolf magnificently depicted amid such an array of flowers?

 The hot water bottle! such details!

 Who's the "other" hero?

 After being in the wolf's stomach (and I'm only sharing about half of the full-page illustrations and none of the smaller ones) notice Red's expression--like the lyric from "Into The Woods"

Once his teeth were bared,
Though, I really got scared-
Well, excited and scared-
But he drew me close
And he swallowed me down,
Down a dark slimy path
Where lie secrets that I never want to know
And when everything familiar seems to disappear forever
At the end of the path was granny once again
As we lie in the dark till you came and set us free
And you brought us to the light

And I know things now,
Many valuable things,
That I hadn't known before:
Do not put your faith
In a cape and a hood,
They will not protect you
The way that they should.
And take extra care with strangers,
Even flowers have their dangers.

~ Stephen Sondheim

All's well that ends well...


Unknown said...

Hey man.. Jessamine county resident here, stumbled on your blog randomly searching for images of Jessamine Creek. One of the images was from your blog about the most beautiful places you'd ever been. I know that rock you're sitting on well, and I'm curious to hear more about what the place means to you if you're willing to share. if you'd like to email me

Randuwa said...

Willie how are you related to the Howell's? May I ask? I can tell you a tail about the rock, but not so close to my bedtime--work tomorrow and all.