The main differences between three versions of “Little Red Riding Hood” are their moral lessons. The first version, by Charles Perrault, was the moral lesson that young women should watch out for themselves, “stay on guard against all kinds of men,” and keep themselves safe from men who might harm them, take advantage, and even rape and kill them.
The second version, by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, called “Little Red Cap,” was a moral lesson about learning from your mistakes. In this version after the old woman and granddaughter were eaten up and then saved from the belly, they learned that they should have taken more action to protect themselves. So, they filled the belly of the wolf with stones so when he woke up and tried to move he would fall and die.
The third version, by Walter De La Mare, was a moral lesson about vanity. In this version, little red riding hood was very vain and always wanted what was best for herself before anyone else. She liked to stare at herself in the mirror and comb her hair and wear the finest clothes. This distracted her from what was really happening right in front of her with the bad wolf, which ended up getting her in trouble and she was eaten by the wolf.
Some of their similarities were the series of events, the characters were similar, and the part towards the end where little red ride hood keeps saying the phrases such as, “What big eyes you have, what big nails you have, and what big teeth you have.” And the answer the wolf has each time is similar to every story. The climax is similar to each version. The grandmother and granddaughter are eaten and then saved, and somehow usually outsmart the wolf at some point in the story.
The version I prefer of the three is the first one because it was the shortest, with the least additives and was the closest to the version I remember hearing as a kid. I liked reading the other versions, however, and the thing I didn’t like about the first version, however, the perverted twist I felt like the story was about to take. I think each of the versions had a detail piece of the original story I remember as a kid.
I guess this tale is relevant to today if the moral lesson is for women to guard and protect themselves from harmful men. This is a huge issue in our society, sexual harassment, abuse, rape, and child molestation.
I don’t think the story is too frightening for children. I remember not being scared and knowing it was just a story and not real life. For fairy tales and stories like this, kindergarten would be a good age to start letting kids hear and read these kinds of stories. I think they understand more between fiction and real life.
Go to the library and find at least two picture book versions of Little Red Riding Hood. Discuss these picture book adaptations of Little Red Riding Hood and explain the similarities and differences between the picture book versions and the original versions that you read in your anthologies, such as the Perrault and Grimm versions. Do you think these adaptations help or hurt the effect of the original version of the tale? Explain.
“Little Red Riding Hood,” by Autumn Publishing and illustrated by Jeannette O’Toole was a very simplified version of this children’s tale. Only being six pages front and back, this version of “Little Red Riding Hood” got right to the point. The little girl went through the woods to bring her grandma cakes, a wolf stopped her and asked where she was going. The wolf ran as fast as he could and grandma let him in. What makes this story much different from the other versions I read is that the wolf only locked grandma in the closet and didn’t kill or harm her. He put her clothes on and the rest of the story is basically the same as the rest. The only other different aspect of this version is that the girl and grandma are saved by the wolf because Little Red Riding Hood’s dad hears her cries and comes to rescue them and chase away and scare the wolf with his ax. This story wasn’t explicit or had any violence and murder in it. This is a quality change in the story. I also loved the bright, bold fresh looking pictures of this book; however, what was lacking from this version of the fairy tale classic was the moral lesson conveyed by the earlier versions I read in the anthology.
The next version I read, called “Little Red Riding Hood,” written by Sarah Parman and illustrated by Gemma Page is a pop-up fairy tale book. This makes this book different from most other books and is definitely a popular favorite for children. At least with my nieces and nephews, they have always been favorites. This version started out much like one we read in the anthology, where her mother tells her not to stray from the path and not to talk to strangers. Although she does stray from the path to pick flowers and ends up running into the wolf. And unlike the first picture book I read, the wolf does “gobble” the grandma and Little Red Riding Hood all up. And, in this story, a woodcutter was passing by and heard a growling noise. He killed the wolf and out came grandma and the girl, just like some other versions I read. A big difference though is that the woodcutter then throws the wolf down into a deep well, never to be seen again. The story ends with the moral lesson, which is Little Red Riding Hood promising to never talk to a stranger again.