Publishers Weekly Review
|Invoking myriad fairy tale scenarios throughout a cascading choose-one's-path format, Snyder (the Charlie and Mouse series) builds a fairy story with logic gates. A tan-skinned child named Rosie stars as this second-person telling's avatar, starting out as Little Red Riding Hood before being given the opportunity to encounter characters including Hansel and Gretel, the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and more. Snappy rhyming verse queries the protagonist after each step ("Now what, Rosie? Are you really going to kiss some strange sleeping woman in a frozen castle covered with roses?"), then gives readers variations from which to choose ("Yes, life is an adventure" vs. "Of course not. Kissing's for teenagers"). Santat (The Aquanaut) romps lushly through this fairy tale universe, giving the folklore mainstays--some comic, some sinister, and predominantly pale-skinned--an exaggerated, kinetic quality. (Rosie, understandably, spends a lot of the time looking perplexed about what to do next.) Readers accustomed to video game--style endings won't be bothered by Rosie's many demises; turning the page resumes the action and leads to more choices, and employing frenetic action right through to the end--er, ends. Ages 5--8. Author's agent: Tina Dubois, ICM Partners. Illustrator's agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Apr.)
School Library Journal Review
|PreS-Gr 3--Whether they are timid or bold, readers will delight in directing a rhyming story that magically changes every time, with choices to suit all adventurers. Familiarity with classic tales--Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Beanstalk--adds to the enjoyment, but isn't necessary for understanding, as light-skinned, dark-haired "Rosie" (the Little Red Riding Hood stand-in and "you" the reader) ventures to Grandma's house with a basket of cake. Each path varies: you may slay the wolf and return home safely, or you may perish ("When gravity's in charge, the only option is DOWN THERE"). There are moments of danger, kindness, and bravery, and while the story isn't heavy-handed on morals, Snyder reminds readers that "every day…you choose," and the choices you make matter. Caldecott Medalist Santat's watercolor and digital illustrations effectively use various perspectives, contrast between light and shadow, and color to create a spectrum of moods, from the frightening to peaceful; his oversized, looming wolf in the dark woods is scary, while a golden field at sunset actually seems to glow. VERDICT This could lead to raucous story hours or interactive group reads, but what everyone needs to ask is: Do you wish you had a Choose-Your-Own-Fairy-Tale book in your hands right now? Open the book. Highly recommended.--Jenny Arch
|Grab your favorite outerwear (cozy coat or riding hood?) and your sense of adventure because Snyder and Santat have created a fun-filled fairy-tale mashup that puts kids in the driver's seat. Using a pick-your-path format, the book lets readers control key moments of the narrative, leading to unexpected developments, satisfying victories--and swift deaths. "Little Red Riding Hood" serves as the anchor story for the book, with Rosie as its protagonist. While the young girl is supposed to head to grandmother's house, the choices she (i.e., the reader) makes along the way might send her into the worlds of "Snow White," "The Three Little Pigs," "Hansel and Gretel," "Sleeping Beauty," or "Jack and the Beanstalk." If you're comfortable navigating the page turns, the book's interactive nature, large trim size, and bold, full-bleed illustrations make it an excellent candidate for group sharing. There is also a fractured-fairy tale aspect to the stories featured, which ensures there are surprises around every corner. A highly entertaining read, full of possibilities.
Horn Book Review
|Though oversize, this eighty-eight-page picture book is not for story hour; it's perhaps best suited for just one or two listeners. And get comfortable; kids will insist on multiple readings because, while the story begins the same way each time (Rosie must take a cake to her sick grandma), the choose-your-own-path format results in multiple endings (and middles). After introducing Rosie, the text asks, "What next, Rosie? Which coat will you wear?" Readers choose either her faux fur coat or her favorite red cape and are sent to a specific page number depending on their choice. Those pages tell more of the story and offer further choices (kiss your scary-looking granny or run for the door; jump out a window with your eyes open or closed). The numerous possible endings are split fairly evenly between happy and not-so-happy ones. In the latter, Rosie usually finds herself dead -- not as morbid as it sounds because, if readers choose (and they will), Rosie can start her story over and hope for a better outcome. The humorously grim text is well matched with amusing illustrations that keep even the darker story elements lighthearted, as readers meet (or not) such characters as Snow White, a wicked queen, Jack, and Sleeping Beauty. Santat's Rosie is small but sturdy and never terribly perturbed, even when she finds herself swallowed by the wolf ("You've got no choice. You sit and wait. It's dark, and what a bore! / You're not quite sure if this is death. You've never died before!"). Both text and art are endlessly clever. Jennifer M. Brabander May/June 2022 p.132(c) Copyright 2022. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
|Multiple reader options give the woodsy road to Grandma's house any number of surprise twists and diversions. First "you" choose either a hooded red cape or a (faux) wolf skin coat to wear and, in traditional choose-your-own-adventure fashion, flip ahead to one of two designated pages. From there, it's on to encounters with big bad wolves, two sleeping princesses (one of whom you can opt to kiss), an unhappy lad named Jack who has lost both his goose and most of his clothes, a really angry little pig, a hunter with a rather too-ready axe, and/or a gang of similarly spun-around versions of familiar characters--all on the way to a set of endings, happy or…otherwise: "And though you turn to run away, there isn't time for that. / You're finished off in seconds, and you never hear the SPLAT." In Santat's country storyscapes the reader stand-in (named Rosie) has beige skin and dark hair; other human figures vary in skin tone. Snyder casts her storylines in sturdy, regular rhyme and concludes each with The End except for the last, which offers the more liminal thought that "whether you adventure far / or sit alone / or snooze, / the thing you must remember is // that every day… / you choose." (This book was reviewed digitally.) Some choices are hard but not this one: Pick it up! (Picture book. 6-9) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.