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!
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...