Those empty haunting wolf eyes on the front cover of LON PO PO, dare the reader to engage into a twisted cunning tale. This 1990 Caldecott Medal Winner by Ed Young is based on a Chinese folklore which offers a different spin to the favorite Little Red Riding Hood story.
"Close the door tight...latch it well", instructs Mother to her three young daughters as she leaves for their grandmother's house. As she departs, the cunning wolf uses his wily tricks to gain entrance into the innocents' confidence. But will clever eldest sister Shang's plan outsmart this hungry intruder? Can wolf resist the bait of tasty gingo nuts which ensure everlasting life?
Ed Young's color use and picture structure enhance the story's pace and mood. Young has skillfully drawn the characters with the barest essential parts so that the imagination fills in the void. Soft fuzzy pastel application on watercolor create the girls' anxiety. As each page unfolds, it is either the girls' fear-filled eyes or the wolf's piercing eyes peering out. Colors have been carefully chosen from the calm blue endpapers and quiet mother's adieu page to the loud and bright contrasting colored panels which follow. Burst of colors are sprinkled only to highlight vital parts of the story.
A winning experience seen through the eyes of Ed Young, an artist of the imagination for the visual and words. 32 pages
Contributed by C. Wong, Librarian Extraordinaire