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Caldecott medalist Ed Young was born in Tientsin, China, and brought up in Shanghai. He cites the philosophy of Chinese painting as an inspiration for much of his work. "A Chinese painting is often accompanied by words," he explains; "they are complementary. There are things that words do that pictures never can, and likewise, there are images that words can never describe."Mr. Young has been illustrating children's books for more than twenty years and has won many awards. He received the 1990 Caldecott Medal for his book Lon Po Po, and his much-lauded collaboration with anthologist Nancy Larrick, Cats Are Cats, was named one of the Ten Best Illustrated Books of 1988 by The New York Times. Mr. Young studied at the University of Illinois, the Art Center of Los Angeles, and Pratt Institute in New York City. He and his family live in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. copyright 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.
This version of the Red Riding Hood story from Young ( The Emperor and the Kite ; Cats Are Cats ; Yeh-Shen ) features three daughters left at home when their mother goes to visit their grandmother. Lon Po Po, the Granny Wolf, pretends to be the girls' grandmother, until clever Shang, the eldest daughter, suspects the greedy wolf's real identity. Tempting him with ginkgo nuts, the girls pull him in a basket to the top of the tree in which they are hiding, then let go of the rope--killing him. One of Young's most arresting illustrations accompanies his dedication: ``To all the wolves of the world for lending their good name as a tangible symbol for our darkness.'' Like ancient Oriental paintings, the illustrations are frequently grouped in panels. When the girls meet the wolf, e.g., the left panel focuses on their wary faces peering out from the darkness, the middle enlarges the evil wolf's eye and teeth, and the third is a vivid swirl of the blue clothes in which the wolf is disguised. The juxtaposition of abstract and realistic representations, the complicated play of color and shadow, and the depth of the artist's vision all help transform this simple fairy tale into an extraordinary and powerful book. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)
Gr 1-5-- A gripping variation on Red Riding Hood that involves three little sisters who outsmart the wolf ( lon or long in Cantonese) who has gained entry to their home under the false pretense of being their maternal grandmother ( Po Po ). The clever animal blows out the candle before the children can see him , and is actually in bed with them when they start asking the traditional ``Why, Grandma!'' questions. The eldest realizes the truth and tricks the wolf into letting them go outside to pick gingko nuts , and then lures him to his doom. The text possesses that matter-of-fact veracity that characterizes the best fairy tales. The watercolor and pastel pictures are remarkable: mystically beautiful in their depiction of the Chinese countryside, menacing in the exchanges with the wolf, and positively chilling in the scenes inside the house. Overall, this is an outstanding achievement that will be pored over again and again.--John Philbrook, San Francisco Pub . Lib .