book reviews, children's books

Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion: A 2016 Favorite Picture Book


I am SO excited to welcome an AMAZING group of authors and bloggers today to Here Wee Read as we all discuss some of our favorite children’s books of 2016 (so far)! Each of us have written about one book; simply follow the links included at the bottom of each of our posts to see the remaining recommended list! You can find more about who we are at the bottom of this post.

This year has certainly been a great year in the picture book world. And while the kids and I have many 2016 favorites, the book I’ve chosen to feature has so many great things about it so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write about it. Enjoy!

Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion
by Alex T. Smith
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 32
Age Range: 3 – 5 years old
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten

Little Red is on her way to visit Auntie Rosie with a basket of goodies and some spot medicine. Along the way she meets the Very Hungry Lion. The Lion is eager to gobble up Little Red. The Lion’s plan doesn’t work out the way he wanted.

Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion is a fractured fairy tale version of Little Red Riding Hood. It’s a classic fairy tale with a safari twist!

The kids and I are totally crushing on the character Little Red in this adorable, funny and witty retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with a cultural twist.  This book features a little Black girl (with the cutest two pigtails you ever did see) playing the part of Little Red.  The story has an African Savannah setting with a very lush landscape.

Instead of going to visit Grandma, Little Red goes to visit her auntie who is sick and covered in spots.  Little Red decides to visit and bring her auntie some “spot medicine” along with a basket of goodies.  She sets off on her trek across the safari, going under tall giraffes, over sleeping crocodiles, past chattering monkeys, and meerkats before deciding to rest under a shady tree. Of course, waiting under that same tree is the very hungry lion.  With quick thinking, he devises a “clever” plan to get to auntie’s house first.  His plan is to hide auntie in a closet, dress up and pretend to be her and then eat both Little Red and her auntie for dessert.  But Little Red is one smart cookie and gives the lion a run for his money.

Little Red gives the lion a new hairstyle complete with cornrows and pretty little red bows tied on the ends.  She brushes his teeth and dresses him in a ruffled dress with pink hearts.  The lion gets fed up and he lets out a huge roar yelling “STOP!”, but that’s not enough to scare Little Red.  In the end, the lion and Little Red make a pact and become friends.


I think the humor coupled with the bright and colorful illustrations work so well together in this book.  I laughed so loud when Little Red braided the lion’s hair and when she put that dress on him!  The expressions on the characters faces are brilliant and downright hilarious.  I think every element of this book was done to perfection.  From the beautiful gold embossed details on the cover to the text and illustrations to the end papers – you truly can’t go wrong with this one. A winner! Definitely one of our favorites for this year so far.

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  • Reply Joanna

    This is the second rave review I have read for this story this week! I think it deserves to be shouted about.

    October 1, 2016 at 7:58 pm
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  • Reply Eileen Manes

    And the best part? It is in the Scholastic Reading Club flyer this month for only $4! If your kiddos bring home one of those flyers, this is a deal that can’t be beat!

    October 5, 2016 at 6:31 pm
  • Reply Liz Garton Scanlon

    Love learning about this one and can’t wait to read — it looks adorable!

    October 5, 2016 at 7:30 pm
  • Reply Kell Andrews

    Happy to meet you and I’m happy to check out your rec!

    October 5, 2016 at 10:29 pm
  • Reply Nessa dee

    Looks like another great read! I’ll have to check this one out!

    October 6, 2016 at 2:55 am
  • Reply Keyosha

    I can’t wait to read this book and especially now that you given it your stamp of approval! Great review as usual!!!

    October 7, 2016 at 12:09 pm
  • Reply pragmaticmom

    I love that this is a fractured fairy tale with a diversity character! Thanks so much for sharing at the Diverse KidLit linky!! I’ll share on Twitter too!
    pragmaticmom recently posted…Sponsorships for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 now OPEN!My Profile

    October 13, 2016 at 10:30 pm
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