Carmine: A Little More Red by Melissa Sweet.
Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, 2005.

At first glance this looks like an alphabet book; words are emphasized stylistically on each page. But it is less an alphabet book than a reworked fairy tale, given that there is mostly just one word representing the sound out of a paragraph. The alphabetical words are different and interesting, but some of them may not have been the best choice to represent the letter. Knoll doesn't have the k sound. Indeed and surreal are abstract and not in many children's vocabularies.

There are a combination of factors lending fresh, intriguing, and artistic touches to the story. There are little comic asides, but not on every page. Other tales show up in the comics, and the style of the pictures is comic, though very colorful. I think Carmine is a much better character than the usual Red. She has more pizzazz. Obviously, she's going to love the color red, but in this telling she uses it to paint and revels in the occurrence of her favorite color in nature. There are some great words emphasized in the story. Her pet dog has his own little story going. There are a couple of maps to enjoy and a soup recipe at the end. The whole package is linked together nicely, with some cool moments, such as the howling mockingbird and woodcutter helping the three little pigs build a treehouse. I like that everything is explained well and there are connections throughout the whole busy and convoluted tale. Of course, those who already know the usual tale will be able to guess some of the connections right away.

A bonus for me is that Melissa Sweet is from Maine. She also does have some other books I will have to watch for.

related-Little Red Riding Hood, retellings of fairy tales, paintings, wolves, grandmothers, family life
RL=1st-2nd, read aloud to toddler-K

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