R is for Red Riding Hood


Maxfield Parrish’s LRR graced the program cover for a theatre production in 1897.



James Thurber did not just fracture the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood,” he shattered it with this outrageous ending:

She had approached no nearer than twenty-five feet from the bed when she saw that it was not her grandmother but the wolf, for even in a nightcap a wolf does not look any more like your grandmother than the Metro-Goldwyn lion looks like Calvin Coolidge. So the little girl took an automatic out of her basket and shot the wolf dead.

(Moral: It is not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be.)


Grand -librarian, what a big shelf of 398.2 you have!

Pinkney, Jerry, Little Red Riding Hood. Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2007.

Thurber, James, Fables for Our Time and Famous Poems Illustrated. Harper Perennial, 1990.

Starbright Foundation (with various celebrities), Once upon a Fairy Tale: Four Favorite Stories. Viking Juvenile, 2001.)

3 responses

  1. That’s the satisfying ending we all want! Thurber’s version reminds me of Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in the first movie where a sword weilding bad guy is ready to chop up Indiana. Indiana stares at him, rolls his eyes, pulls his pistol out and shuts him dead – really funny!

  2. Props to Red for taking care of herself. Maybe she turned it around and made wolf stew and ended up eating him.

    • Very close, Stephen! In Roald Dahl’s version, she makes herself a wolf fur coat. (She may have made stew, too, though he didn’t mention that.)