Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story From China

Lon Po Po:  A Red-Riding Hood Story From China

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 978-0399216190 Ages 4-8

Contributed by C. Wong, Librarian Extraordinaire



"(Young's) command of page composition and his sensitive use of color give the book a visual force that matches the strength of the story and stands as one of the illustrator's best efforts." --Booklist

"Absolutely splendid." -- Kirkus Reviews. "An extraordinary and powerful book." -- Publisher's Weekly

The now-classic Chinese retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, and one of the most celebrated picture books of our time.


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.---from Publisher's Weekly

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