Red Riding Hood is considered one of the world’s most widely known stories, a kind of meta fairy tale that is repeated over and over through generations; it is likely it began as an oral tale. Traditionally, and persistently, the fabled wolf is depicted by picture book makers as big and bad, and that’s all we ever know of him; he doesn’t have a back story, a family, an explanation. In a time where we see wolves hunted – to extinction across much of the world, in a time where we are learning of the impact of deforestation and the sixth mass extinction – surely we can no longer tolerate children’s books repeating messages of human dominance and justifying violence toward animals. Where anything can happen in a picture book, why are we still killing off the wolf?
With this in mind I have created a picture book, Little Red Hat, that aims to engage readers with a story of insight and compassion. I hope it appeals to both child readers and adults who are guardians of children and storytelling.
I’ve given the wolf a family; traditionally only Red has a family and we never see the wolf’s kin or how they might grieve after he is killed in traditional tellings. Simply, I wanted to show how humans are the threat to wolves and not the other way round.
Read more on my home page about why I made this book and why I am passionate about the representation of animals in visual culture.